The Eurocup Quarter-Finals opened on Tuesday with a clash between reigning champions Valencia and Khimky Moscow Region. The clubs locked in Spain to open their two game series, with the tie to be decided in the Russian capital next week thanks to an aggregate score.
In this contest Khimky set itself up for home success next week with a 75-76 win, but Valencia is of course firmly still in the tie, trailing by a single point. That is especially the case considering how the Spanish club demolished German champions Bayern Munich on the road last week. In other words, Valencia is very capable of hitting an away court and winning big, while the current champs will want to go further than the Eurocup Quarter-Finals in pursuit of defending their crown.
However, there is no doubt that Khimky Moscow Region poses a particular kind of threat, defensively sound and slick in attack, the Russian club showed its skills in this contest and will be even more formidable at home. Khimky has proved its credentials this season with solid runs in the Eurocup and VTB United League.
Valencia start this game in the best touch, the hosts pacing to a 20-17 lead after ten minutes, but the momentum quickly slipped and Khimky took advantage. In the second frame the visitors secured a 15-24 run that gave them a 35-41 lead through the long break. During the third act the Russians sent home 24 points again while keeping the home team to 17, it was enough for a 52-65 score line at the final split. Valencia recovered well from the shock and went about Khimky in the final quarter, the Spaniards running the game close but ultimately falling short.
Tyrese Rice stood out in the winning effort as he nailed 27 points and laid on 5 assists. He was followed by Petteri Koponen and Tyler Honeycutt with 12 points apiece.
Sam Van Rossom led Valencia with 15 points, while Luke Harangody hit 12 points in the loss.