Loko defeated by UNICS in Kazan

Lokomotiv Kuban failed to win the away game against UNICS in the VTB United Leagie – 75:79.

The starting five of Lokomotiv Kuban was Khvostov, Ponitka, Wright, Fall, and Whitehead. Loko played nervously and lost the ball in the first possession. However, UNICS failed to make a burst. A 5-point gap was compensated by Isaiah’s penetration, Ponitka’s free throws, and Fall’s domination.

The teams played aggressively and Mateusz Ponitka got most of strokes: firstly he hurt his arm trying to grab a rebound, later Lockett hit him in face with elbow.

However, the result of the quarter hinged on Jamel McLean. His 6 points let Krasnodar win the period – 18:15.

In the mid of the second quarter, Kolesnikov from UNICS was the only player who managed to shoot from downtown successfully. Due to him, Kazan returned its leadership – 20:22. Loko took a timeout but Obradovic didn’t change the roster on the court. At the same time, Priftis had to do that. Sheleketo hurt his leg guarding Wright.

UNICS got a 7-point advantage in the beginning of the second period. Thanks to McLean and Whitehead, Loko tied the score – 34:34. By the end of the quarter, Loko took the lead, due to McLean’s two-pointer.

In the second half of the game, Krasnodar didn’t lose the rhythm but changed the offensive focus. Loko attempted three downtown shots in one possession grabbing two rebounds, and finally Ponitka netted his three-pointer.

Loko’s advantage grew to 8 points, due to Mateusz and Khvostov. But after a timeout, Kazan managed to be back into the game. Smith and McCollum made a series of open shots, acted fast in shifts, and let UNICS take the lead with the buzzer.

5 minutes before the end of the game, UNICS’ advantage was 8 points but Whitehead and Johnson’s threes kept Loko up. Krasnodar started to put on huge pressure and prevented Kazan from easy points. Then, during 5 minutes, three players of UNICS went to the bench with five fouls one by one: Ndour, Morgan, and Lockett.

Loko did its best to offense the rival’s basket. However, UNICS resisted. In the last possession, Loko’s lag was only 4 points but Ponkrashov stole the ball and the game ended with the score 79:75 in favor of UNICS. It is the first defeat for Loko in the 2018/2019 season.

Isaiah Whitehead is the top scorer of Loko. He got 18 points and 4 assists.

Mateusz Ponitka added 16 points and 4 steals. Jamel McLean – 15 points and 8 rebounds.

Lokomotiv Kuban plays next game at home against Tofas in EuroCup on October 17th at 8:00 p.m. Moscow time.

Sasa Obradovic, Head Coach of PBC Lokomotiv Kuban

Congrats to UNICS with the deserved win. At some moment, we lost concentration, let Smith and McCollum net very importnat balls. As a result, we didn't execute our plan for the game. I hope we will play better in the future because UNICS is one of our direct rivals in the VTB United League and EuroCup.


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