Russian club Avtodor Saratov has collected its first VTB League victory and put a century of points on the board in the process. The home team tore apart Belarussian visitors Tsmoki-Minsk 100-81 to resign the away team to the bottom of the table without a win (0-5), the only team remaining without a victory.
This season marks a return to high profile Basketball for Avtodor Saratov after the club won the Russian Superleague last season. The team will now hope that they have grown into the often tough VTB League and will use this big win motivation going forward.
The home team opened the game with a 7-0 run and looked to center Rashaun Freeman to dominate in the paint. The big man, usually coming off the bench but starting here, duly obliged with a strong performance. After 10 minutes on the hardwood Saratov held a 23-18 lead. The hosts started the second frame well, sinking a couple of triples to make it a double digit game. However, a few silly mistakes and 10 points through the frame for Minsk’s Ivan Maras brought the visitors back into it. It was anybody’s ball game, but Avtodor responded to open a 10 point cushion at halftime, the scoreboard reading 43-33.
The sizeable advantage was all the motivation the Russian team needed as they held firm through the third, keeping the deficit at 10 points through 30 minutes (62-52). Finding confidence on the floor and keeping in mind Tsmoki-Mink’s mental issues late in games, the home team fired through the fourth quarter, nailing 38 points and dominating the court. At the end of regulation Avtodor Saratov had stormed to a comfortable win.
Avtodor: Courtney Fortson led the victor’s with18 points, while Travis Peterson hit 16 points and Aleksei Vzdykhalkin 14 points.
Tsmoki-Minsk: Branko Mirkovic grabbed a game high 20 points in the losing effort, followed by Aliaksandr Kudrautsau with 19 points.
Enisey Krasnoyarsk vs. Lokomotiv
Another Russian club was celebrating as Round 5 of the VTB League got underway, with Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar keeping their good form going with a big 74-95 road win over compatriots Enisey Krasnoyarsk.
Lokomotiv has been in fine touch this season both domestically and on the continent, and the Krasnodar club showed no sign of slowing here. It was a huge first half from the visitors as they raced to a 17-29 lead at the first split and then extended with a 15-28 run in the second period (32-57 at halftime). The hosts narrowed the game with a 24-14 winning third frame, but Lokomotiv’s response was emphatic, cruising through the fourth stanza to win the game.
Derrick Brown led Kuban with 16 points, but the star was Richard Hendrix with a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Krunoslav Simon also doubled up with 14 points and 11 boards. Also reaching double digit scores for the visitors were Nikita Kurbanov with 14 points and Maxim Kolyushkin with 13 points.
Donnell Cooper led the defeated team with 18 points, with Evgeny Kolesnikov with 16 points.