Samara-2 locks down on defense and sets club record for fewest points allowed in a game
UNICS-2 and Samara-2 opened the 2019 Final Eight. Even though Kazan had a better regular season record, Dmitry Pivtsaikin’s team was the favorite. There was a simple reason: Samara-2 brought all of its stars to the Final Eight (Dmitry Gusenkov, Filipp Stoiko, Dmitry Khaldeev) who helped the club reach the championship game last season.
Samara was completely dominant from the opening tip, streaking to a 37-9 lead midway through the 2nd quarter. The lead went as high as 37 points by the end of the game, the third-largest margin of victory in Final Eight history. The biggest blowout came in a 2017 game between PARMA-2 and Avtodor-2 (112-60). The second took place a few hours after Samara-2 wrapped up its win.
One of the Samara stars Dmitry Gusenkov admitted after the game that one of the key factors was his team’s excellent defense. Samara-2 only allowed 43 points, another team record. The previous record was 47 points.
Samara-2 plays CSKA-Junior in the semifinals, while UNICS-2 will face Nizhny Novgorod-2 in the loser’s bracket.
Lokomotiv-Kuban-2 can’t stop Nikita Mikhailovsky and Egor Bestuzhev
Lokomotiv-Kuban-2 and Avtodor-2 had one of the most interesting quarterfinal match-ups. Between the two rosters, there were eight players with VTB United League experience, including Avtodor All-Star Nikita Mikhailovsky.
But Avtodor-2 was led by a different player in the first half, the regular season’s scoring champion, Egor Bestuzhev. The Saratov guard hit four straight 3-pointers to give his team a comfortable double-digit lead, which lasted until the end of the 3rd quarter.
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Krasnodar showed its heart and even caught the 7-seed, but unfortunately for Djordje Varagic, Nikita Mikhailovsky quickly took over the game. Mikhailovsky (28) and Bestuzhev (24) combined for 52 points as Avtodor-2 knocked out one of the most exciting teams from the regular season.
Last season, Avtodor also beat Lokomotiv-Kuban in the DYuBL championship, with Nikita Mikhailovsky winning the MVP.
CSKA-Junior records the biggest win
The Army Men came in as the favorites. The team brought several players with significant experience in the Superleague, in addition to Alexander Khomenko, who’s played on the senior team this season.
Nonetheless, Nizhny Novgorod-2 held its own early on and even took the lead. A 14-0 run from CSKA-Junior quickly shifted the momentum, however, and Khomenko’s unreal buzzer-beater crushed Nizhny’s hopes.
The Army Men won the second half by a score of 59-21, cruising to a 50-point victory. Maxim Sharafan’s men were only three points shy of the largest margin of victory in Final Eight history.
CSKA-Junior faces a much stiffer test in the semifinals. Samara-2 gave the Red and Blue all they could handle in last year’s championship.
Khimki-2 knocks out the hosts in overtime
The home team drew the most fans to the first round of action. Zenit-2 took on Khimki-2, which finished in 3rd place at last year’s Final Eight and had the regular season’s third-best record.
Zenit general director Alexander Tserkovny, head coach Joan Plaza, and Zenit stars Sean Armand, Sergey Karasev and Vladislav Trushkin were all in attendance.
The solid support ultimately did not help Zenit-2. Moscow Region roared back to force overtime in a testy 4th quarter that featured technical and unsportsmanlike fouls. Khimki-2’s Maxim Barashkov took over in the extra period, finishing with a double-double of 30 points, 10 rebounds to help his team win.
Khimki-2 will try to knock out Nikita Mikhailovsky and co. in tomorrow’s second semifinal.