Wednesday’s mega-showdown in Krasnodar lived up to expectations as CSKA survived a barrage of Lokomotiv 3-pointers in the 4th quarter for a dramatic 78-75 win in front of 7,124 fans. The victory meant payback for the Army Men, who lost to the Railwaymen at home in January, 90-79.
CSKA forward Will Clyburn led all scorers with 26 points, including the go-ahead basket with under two minutes remaining and a pair of huge free throws down the stretch.
Lokomotiv was able to erase a six-point deficit midway through the 4th quarter, taking the lead on Trevor Lacey’s four-point play at the 2:20 mark. But despite another triple from Dmitry Kulagin and Ryan Broekhoff knocking down three free throws after getting fouled on a three-point attempt, the visitors were able to keep Krasnodar at bay.
Cory Higgins extended CSKA’s lead to three with nine seconds to go with two free throws and Mardy Collins missed a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer, allowing the Army Men to escape with a win.
Collins scored a team-high 20 points for Krasnodar, which led by five at halftime and was in excellent shape to secure its second win of the season over CSKA.
Lokomotiv shot 43% from beyond the arc, while a steady stream of free throws (27-34 overall) meant four different CSKA players finished the game with four fouls.
But despite playing without any centers because of injuries, CSKA did an excellent job of limiting Loko’s big men Brian Qvale and Frank Elegar to a combined 10 points and seven rebounds, and surged into the lead by outscoring the home team 21-11 in the 3rd quarter.
Lokomotiv battled down the stretch, but Trevor Lacey missed a chance to tie the game at the line, 71-71, with under a minute remaining and CSKA was efficient on offense the rest of the way to preserve the victory.
2 – After streaking to 11 consecutive wins between October and January, Lokomotiv-Kuban has lost two in a row at home in February, dropping to 3rd place in the standings.
Sasa Obradovic, Head Coach of PBC Lokomotiv Kuban:
- We missed the chance to beat the big opponent. After the tactically great first half, we somehow came to the black zone again in the third quarter. On the other hand, we should be realistic. The guys we have still need to go into the big games and win them. None of them have actually won the title in their career. This is a process, we should be patient with this.