Avtodor Russia defeated Tsmoki-Minsk Belarus on the road, 93-86 (24-17, 28-21, 20-19, 21-29).
Tsmoki-Minsk: Devon Saddler (28 + 5 reb + 12 ast), Vitali Liutych (16), Aliaksandr Kudrautsau (11)
Avtodor: Trae Golden (26 + 10 ast), Perrin Buford (26 + 10 reb), Artem Zabelin (12), Boris Savovic (10 + 6 reb)
Led by double-doubles from Trae Golden and Perrin Buford, Avtodor hel on for a 93-86 win on the road in Minsk.
The visiting Russians led by 15 entering the 4th quarter before a furious Tsmoki-Minsk rally cut the deficit to two, 79-77, with three and a half minutes remaining.
Artem Zabelin provided the answer for Avtodor, scoring seven points in two minutes, including a dunk and 3-pointer, to stretch the lead back to 10, 89-79.
This was a big game for Avtodor, which lost to Minsk earlier in the season at home and needed a win to stay in the top eight. The visitors came out firing, lighting up Tsmoki’s defense in the first half for 52 points and a 14-point lead at the break.
Trae Golden and Perrin Buford led the way for the visitors, combining for 52 points (26 each) on 16-26 shooting. Golden also dished out a game-high 10 assists, while Buford pulled down 10 rebounds.
Buford also threw down the first poster of 2019, with this vicious dunk on Aliaksandr Semianiuk late in the 1st quarter.
Remarkably, Avtodor shot only 1-10 from beyond the arc, making up for the lack of perimeter offense with 64% shooting inside the arc and 39 free-throw attempts (the visitors converted at an 82% clip).
After falling behind by 14 at halftime, Minsk outscored Saratov by seven in the second half. Aliaksandr Kudrautsau was a big part of the 4th-quarter comeback, scoring nine of his 11 points to help cut the deficit to two.
Devon Saddler, meanwhile, scored a game-high 28, adding five rebounds and 12 assists, but it was not enough to overcome Avtodor’s dominance inside.
The visitors improve to 5-6, half a game up on Kalev and Nizhny Novgorod in 7th place.
Tsmoki-Minsk drops to 2-9, remaining in 13th.
+9 – Despite knocking down nine more 3-pointers (10 vs. 1), Tsmoki-Minsk was unable to secure a win.
Tsmoki-Minsk head coach Aliaksandr Krutsikau: “We were able to make it interesting in the second half and cut into the deficit. But the gap was really big. Our opponent scored a lot of easy points.
When we got close to Avtodor, we started committing careless turnovers. Those mistakes put us behind by 5-6 points again. Our opponent forced us to rush on offense and make the wrong decisions. Our opponent scored 93 points, including 52 in the first half. Those are bad numbers for us.”
Avtodor head coach Dusan Alimpijevic: “I think was an interesting game to watch. We showed two different sides today: in the first and second halves. The game, of course, was a struggle for us. We have a short bench right now with Ireland out. But like I said after the game, I believe in these guys. They needed to win this game. It was important to prove after losing two months ago at home. We showed good energy despite the big break in competition.”