A battle at the top of Group C ended up with everyone satisfied after Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar put on a three-point shooting clinic to win 84-89 over host ALBA Berlin on Tuesday. Lokomotiv, already qualified for the Top 16, matched a club record with 15 triples to stay perfect at 7-0. Meanwhile, ALBA dropped to 5-2 but nonetheless advanced to the Top 16 thanks to Limoges CSP defeating RETAbet Bilbao simultaneously. Ryan Broekhoff, with a 7DAYS EuroCup career-high 20 points, and Pavel Antipov, with 15, led the Lokomotiv three-point assault with 5 shots each from the arc. Mardy Collins was everywhere with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals, while Frank Elegar and Trevor Lacey added 10 points each. Dennis Clifford had 17 points, Marius Grigonis 16, Spencer Butterfield 13, Peyton Siva 12 and Akeem Vargas 10 for Berlin. Siva left the game midway through the third quarter with an injury to his face, never to return. Lokomotiv took control of the scoreboard with a 0-14 second-quarter run and staked a high lead of 55-67 in the third. ALBA rallied to within 84-87 with 39 seconds left before Broekhoff made the last, key offensive rebound and free throws.
The lead changed hands early on ALBA's jump shots and Lokomotiv's inside scoring until 5 points in a row by Clifford put the hosts ahead 10-8. Antipov's first triple meant an 11-11 tie, but free throws got ALBA to a 16-11 lead. Brian Qvale broke the spell for Lokomotiv, but Grigonis beat the first-quarter buzzer with a triple for a 19-13 difference. Clifford took over inside to raise the lead despite Pavel's second triple, and soon Broekhoff rolled his first from long distance over the rim for a 23-23 tie. Dmitry Khvostov put the visitors ahead from deep and their run reached 0-14 on a layup by Collins at 23-30. Grigonis rescued ALBA with another triple and free throws, but Pavel's third three-pointer and another by Broekhoff made it 32-38. Broekhoff and Butterfield traded triples next, but Broekhoff wanted more and buried his fourth in four tries to make it 37-44. After Broekhoff made 3 more the hard way, on a fastbreak-plus-free throw, Siva got those points back with a shot from the arc, cutting the difference to 42-47 at the half.
Lacey's layup and transition triple after halftime boosted the Lokomotiv lead to 46-54. Clifford answered inside and soon Butterfield's fastbreak three had the difference down to 51-54. Broekhoff cranked up a new triple that Joe Ragland followed with free throws at 51-58. Antipov returned for his fourth strike from downtown and Dimitry Kulagin fed Collins for a layup at 54-64. Kulagin became Lokomotiv's next three-point marksman, but ALBA scored the third quarter's last 4 points to again stay in touch at 61-69. Stefan Peno with a jumper and Grigonis with free throws got ALBA closer early in the fourth and then Vargas drilled a triple to make it 66-69. But Antipov was ready with his fifth from the same distance, and when Ragland aimed his sixth assist at Qvale, the visitors led 68-75 with less than 5 minutes left. Collins hit a corner three for the guests that Butterfield matched at 74-78. Ragland also hit a shot from deep, Lokomotiv's 15th, matching a club record, before Collins downed a layup. When Grigonis and Vargas answered from long-distance, however, it a whole new ballgame, 82-83, with 1:50 to play. Free throws by Kulagin, Elegar and Clifford left an 84-87 score with 39 seconds left, but Broekhoff's offensive rebound came with an unsportsmanlike foul and he sealed Lokomotiv's win at the foul line with 10.7 seconds left.
Sasa Obradovic, Head Coach of PBC Lokomotiv Kuban:
- First, it was a great emotion for me to be in this gym with these fans. They didn't forget and gave me a good, warm welcome. I respect all the time I was here with them and with all of you, so thank you one more time. We won the game, but we could have won the game earlier. There were still those big ups and downs, again. Without any reason, we gave ALBA a certain confidence at the end. But we deserved to win, and this is most important. It means first place and we sent a message as one of the favorites, but we need to play better, for sure. If you play against ALBA or any Spanish team, you have to shoot good from outside and we did that tonight. Why not call us a favorite? In the end, I am confident we are going to be better when we have to play the best basketball.