Loko Survives VEF Scare

Lokomotiv-Kuban defeated VEF in Riga on Monday night, 89-84. In a game in which neither team led by more than nine points, visiting point guard Malcolm Delaney decided the outcome, scoring seven points to go with two assists in the final minutes. Lokomotiv improves to 9-5 with the win, only half a game back of 4th-place Zenit.

VEF came out strong, outscoring the Railwaymen 23-15 in the 1st quarter. Despite being favored on the road, Lokomotiv could not find its rhythm on offense. Struggling from beyond the arc, the visitors also got little production from leader Malcolm Delaney, going 6-16 from the field in the opening period.

Kuban got back in the game with its defense. Forward Andrei Zubkov brought aggressive defense off the bench, while Lokomotiv's switching on pick-and-rolls improved, helping limit VEF's open looks on the perimeter. Thanks to a 28-point quarter, the Railwaymen entered the locker room with a 43-42 lead.

Riga didn't plan on going anywhere. The Latvians solved Kuban's pick-and-roll defense in the second half, getting Francisco Cruz to drive the paint and feed Josh Harrellson and Mareks Mejeris, who were both efficient around the basket. After three quarters, VEF was back on top, 63-62.

Turning Point
Delaney and Cruz took center stage in the 4th quarter with the Loko guard coming out on top to give his team the victory. Delaney knocked down a pair of big 3's late in the game and also dished out two key assists, allowing Krasnodar to overturn a three-point deficit. Cruz, on the other hand, turned the ball over twice, limiting VEF's chances to score. Lokomotiv outscored the home team 13-5 in the final four minutes to enjoy a valuable win on the road.

Star Player
Malcolm Delaney. The American struggled at times, but he was magnificent down the stretch. Delaney scored nine points to go with two assists in the final five minutes, leading his team to a win.

Stat of the Game
22 - number of lead changes.