Lokomotiv tops Monaco to lock up second place
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar held on to beat AS Monaco 76-72 on Wednesday and secure second place in Group C. Lokomotiv improved to 8-2 and ensured it will play in Group F of the Top 16, though its opponents are not yet known. Monaco, which had already secured a ticket to the next phase, fell to 4-4. The game was close throughout and came down to the final seconds, when Darral Willis intentionally missed a free throw, got the rebound and rushed a shot that would have tied the game, but Kevin Hervey stole the ball and Mantas Kalnietis iced the game from the line. Jordan Crawford paced the winners with 17 points, Kalnietis finished with 14 and Reggie Lynch totaled 11 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. Dee Bost led the Monaco attack with 18 points, Mathias Lessort produced 14 points and 7 rebounds and J.J. O'Brien scored 11.
Lynch took charge early for the hosts with a pair of baby hooks and a big block on defense and Lokomotiv built a 6-2 lead. O'Brien kept Monaco close with a put-back and a free throw on the next possession, but Lokomotiv continued to roll with Mindaugas Kuzminskas's tip-in making it 12-5. Bost started to heat up with a pair of jumpers and a three-pointer to get his team within 3. Vladislav Emchenko hit back with a triple for Lokomotiv, however, another Bost layup and a steal and score on the first-quarter buzzer by Willis got Monaco within 18-16. Marcos Knight got going for Monaco with a three and a mid-range jumper sandwiched around a three by Hervey. O'Brien sank a three from the corner to make it 25-24 and soon after Lessort tied the game with free throws. Knight drove to give Monaco its first lead, 26-28, midway through the second quarter. Lokomotiv hit back quickly with back-to-back threes by Crawford highlighting a 10-0 run. Monaco again punched back and a layup by O'Brien made it 37-35, which is how the first half finished.
Willis scored twice on the offensive glass at the onset of the third quarter to give Monaco the lead. Tip-ins by Lessort and Wilfried Yeguete kept Monaco in front. Free throws by Hervey lifted Lokomotiv to a 46-45 edge midway through the third quarter. Emchenko added a three, but Monaco refused to back down and Lessort's slam had the visitors again within 1. A layup by Kalnietis and a free throw by Kuzminskas made it 54-50 through three quarters. Lokomotiv's lead was twice 7 early in the fourth quarter, but a three by Bost and free throws by Lessort trimmed the deficit. Bost's fourth three of the night made it 63-62 with 3 minutes remaining. Monaco twice missed with the chance to take the lead before free throws by Crawford gave the hosts a two-possession lead with 1:38 to play. Willis was called for an unsportsmanlike foul on Lynch and after he and Kalnietis tacked on free throws, the difference was 5 with 50 seconds left. The final minute became a free-throw contest and Lokomotiv made just enough shots from the line, aided by a late Hervey block, to prevail.
Monaco dominated the rebounds 31-44, including 20 offensive boards. The visitors also held Lokomotiv to subpar three-point shooting (27.8%). However, aside from Dee Bost, the rest of the Monaco attack was 2 for 17 on three-pointers and the visitors also committed 20 turnovers.
Hervey's record haul
Kevin Hervey moved into a tie for the regular-season lead with 2.25 steals per game thanks to his 5 in this game, which tied a Lokomotiv club record. He became the seventh Lokomotiv player to steal as many balls in one game, joining Nick Calathes, Malcolm Delaney, Trevor Lacey, Jeremiah Massey, Mateusz Ponitka and Anthony Randolph on that distinguished list.
Did you notice
Lokomtiv's 17-year-old center Iaroslav Niagu made his EuroCup debut in the first quarter. The young talent played just 58 seconds, but split free throws for his first point in the competition.
Lokomotiv will have to wait to learn its opponents in the Top 16 for its next game. Monaco has two more regular-season makeup games, the first of which is on Friday night in Lithuania against Lietkabelis Panevezys.
Wednesday, December 16, 2020