Lokomotiv-Kuban Russia defeated Zielona Gora Poland on the road, 73-67 (18-16, 13-14, 19-18, 23-19).
Zielona Gora: Zeljko Sakic (16 + 5 reb), Lukasz Koszarek (12 + 5 reb + 8 ast), Darko Planinic (12 + 7 reb), Michal Sokolowski (11)
Lokomotiv-Kuban: JaJuan Johnson (15 + 8 reb), Jamel McLean (12 + 5 reb + 5 ast), Dmitry Kulagin (10 + 7 reb), Vitaly Fridzon (10)
Zielona Gora entered the contest on a four-game skid; Lokomotiv came in with a 6-4 record and 5th place. Both teams wanted to right the ship and the first half was competitive, with neither team leading by more than five points (Loko, 14-9 in the 1st quarter).
Krasnodar controlled the glass (24-16), but struggled to shoot the ball (33% from the field, including 1-11 from beyond the arc).
At halftime, the visitors enjoyed a slim 31-30 advantage.
JaJuan Johnson tried to extend Loko’s lead at the end of the 3rd quarter, but baskets from Darko Planinic and Gabe DeVoe kept Zielona Gora within two, 50-48.
Krasnodar’s 8-2 run to open the 4th quarter, inspired by Dmitry Kulagin, proved decisive. The home team cut the deficit to three, 68-65, with 1:04 remaining, but Loko made its free throws to ice the victory.
Krasnodar picks up its 7th victory, while Zielona Gora loses its 5th-straight game.
67 – Zielona Gora’s second-lowest output on offense this season. The team scored 66 points vs. UNICS on October 20.
Jamel McLean. In 23 minutes, the Loko forward was extremely effective: 12 points, five rebounds and five assists. The Poles had no answer for McLean, fouling him 10 times for 13 free throws, including four clutch freebies in the final minute.
Zielona Gora head coach Igor Jovovic: “We played excellent defense vs. Loko, which is known for its balanced offense, but that wasn’t enough to keep it close at the end. We did a bad job on defensive rebounds–that was the reason for our loss.”
Lokomotiv-Kuban head coach Vlada Jovanovic: “I understood that the game with Zielona Gora would be tough. Loko had a difficult game on December 19 vs. Alba in Berlin, then a challenging trip to Poland. The other issue was the absence of Fall and Whitehead. That shortens the rotation, which is not easy given our busy schedule. But I want to thank Zielona Gora. They played an excellent game. I also want to thank my guys who got the win. We grabbed 42 rebounds, which is a sign of our efforts and the team’s proper approach to the game. Today we had problems shooting from beyond the arc, but we found other ways to victory.”