Loko wins EuroCup opener against Gdynia

In the first game of EuroCup-2019, Lokomotiv Kuban defeated Arka Gdynia on the road – 80:73.

The top scorer of the Loko vs. Gdynia game was Isaiah Whitehead. The American guard got 17 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. Dmitry Khvostov added 12 points and 3 assists; Moustapha Fall – 12 points and 5 rebounds.

Jajuan Johnson got 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists, Vitaly Fridzon – 9 points, Jamel McLean – 7 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals.

Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar outlasted upset-minded Arka Gdynia 73-80 in their EuroCup Group B opener on Tuesday at Gdynia Arena. The hosts led last season’s runner-up by 3 midway through the third quarter before Dmitry Khvostov heated up to lead a 5-17 charge. Arka battled back from a double-digit deficit in the fourth to get within 4, but Lokomotiv held on. 

Whitehead dominated early with 5 points and an assist to make it 2-9 in the visitors’ favor, but Arka battled back to remain in the hunt. Mateusz Ponitka kept Lokomotiv in control and Fall twice split free throws before the first quarter ended at 12-17. Szubarga drew Arka within 16-17 early in the second quarter, but the home side had no answers for Mateusz Ponitka or Whitehead. 

However Arka continued to battle hard and their efforts bore fruit when Dylewicz’s hook made it 28-27 with less than three minutes remaining in the half. Upshaw’s alley-oop slam and Krzysztof Szubarga free throws gave the hosts a 32-31 halftime edge. The Arka lead in fact grew in the first part of the third quarter thanks to Josh Bostic and Dylewicz, whose layup made it 43-40.

However, Khvostov scored twice in a 0-9 run that gave Lokomotiv the lead for good. A Khvostov triple and a Fall layup gave their team a 48-57 cushion through three quarters. The lead reached double figures in the fourth, but Florence’s steals and layups made it 68-72 in the penultimate minute. Mateusz Ponitka’s dunk wrapped up a Lokomotiv win.

The winning hand on this nigh belonged to Dmitry Khvostov, who fired in 10 third-quarter points to turn the game on its head. He scored twice in a 0-9 run to give Lokomotiv the lead for good after trailing 43-40 and added a pair of threes to send his team to a 48-57 advantage by the quarter’s end. His 10 points in the third was exactly the difference between the teams in that period. Khvostov only missed 2 shots and contributed 3 assists in the winning effort.

Sasa Obradovic, Head Coach of PBC Lokomotiv Kuban

It was never easy. First games are allways the hardest ones. We didn't play at our expected level, but a win is a win. We are going to improve from game to games. We have to have a certain intensity to start the game. We were slow, without any energy. We gave them a certain confidence and then everything was harder.

Jajuan Johnson, Forward of PBC Lokomotiv Kuban

It was a very important win. My team won last year. The key is to win on the road. We were fortunate today to get a tough road win. They played really hard. In the second half we played really well. We got some stops, some easy buckets, some transition points; that was pretty much the key. They were playing tougher than us in the first half; In the second half we were the more aggressive team.

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