Loko Buries Avtodor From Outside

Lokomotiv-Kuban defeated Avtodor Saratov in Krasnodar, 91-77. The score was close for three quarters before a 4th-quarter surge gave the home team a convincing win. Lokomotiv has now won seven straight, while Avtodor loses for the 3rd time in a row.

While neighbors in the standings, these two teams have had little in common this season. After a sluggish start to the year, Lokomotiv had won six straight entering tonight's contest and hoped to keep the pressure on Zenit for 4th place. Avtodor, meanwhile, had dropped two straight and recently brought in a new head coach for the 2nd time (Vladimir Antsiferov replaced Alexey Vasilyev).

Loko didn't look much like the favorite in the first half. After two weeks on the road, the team's fatigue showed. Their vaunted defense struggled to contain Avtodor and the offense looked stagnant. Disciplined and organized, Saratov only trailed by two at halftime, 43-41.

The balance of power didn't change much in the 3rd quarter. Both teams played hard, but also committed their fair share of turnovers and missed easy baskets. Entering the final period, the Railwaymen continued to nurse a two-point lead, 61-59.

Turning Point
Soon after the start of the 4th quarter, Avtodor's Paul Stoll and Travis Peterson gave the visitors the lead. It wouldn't last long. Lokomotiv ripped off a 7-0 run. Ryan Broekhoff got it started with a '3', before Anthony Randolph and Malcolm Delaney chipped in to regain the lead. Antsiferov called timeout, but the Railwaymen refused to slow down. Lokomotiv scored 30 points in the period and cruised to a 14-point win.

Star Player
Chris Singleton. His defense and career night from outside the arc (4-5 on 3-point attempts) made him the X-factor in Loko's win.

Stat of the Game
17 - number of Lokomotiv 3-pointers (17-35, 49%). The Railwaymen did more than just attack from the perimeter, but the team's snipers played a huge role in the win.

Lokomotiv-Kuban head coach Georgios Bartzokas:
- We're happy that we managed to win today. This was not easy. We played against a team that I really respect. They have good offense and talented players. I have a lot of respect for Paul Stoll. He has great court vision, can find open players and controls the tempo. Avtodor doesn't take a defense-first approach, but if you play at their tempo, you'll have a lot of problems. I was encouraged by our rebounding effort. We got about 15 extra possessions thanks to offensive rebounds.

Avtodor head coach Vladimir Antsiferov:
- We set a very quick tempo. We know that's our strength and tried to play fast basketball. But we got tired at the end, lost our concentration and that caused turnovers. It's too bad that we couldn't hit some open looks, but it was even more upsetting that we let our opponent get open looks. Draper and Singleton killed us with their 3's. We had some shortcomings in the final minutes. We stopped contesting shots. It's all because of fatigue. Overall, the game was decent, especially in the first half when it was up and down, but we've got more to work on.