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RUS - Kostas’ Khimki shock CSKA in Moscow derby!
MOSCOW (Superleague) - Kestutis Kemzura grabbed his biggest victory since taking the helm of BC Khimki by leading his team to a 75-74 triumph over defending Russian and Euroleague champions CSKA Moscow on Saturday.
Kemzura, who assisted David Blatt at Dynamo St Petersburg and for the past one and a half years at Benetton Treviso, recently took the helm of Khimki as a full-time replacement for Serguei Elevich.
The Lithuanian Kemzura won’t soon forget this result.
In a nerve-wracking final minute, Theo Papaloukas had a chance to win at the death but Khimki’s defense held firm and the FIBA Europe Player of the Year missed his shot.
Khimki’s Argentina international Ruben Wolkowisky rebounded as time expired.
CSKA’s Trajan Langdon led all scorers with 17 points while Kelly McCarty and Melvin Booker each had 13 in a winning effort.
CSKA have been such a dominant side in Russia in recent times that no teams have mounted a serious challenge to them in any of the domestic competitions.
That could be about to change.
With just over two minutes remaining, Langdon’s three-pointer had put CSKA into a 72-71 lead, only for Melvin Booker to reply immediately with a basket for Khimki.
After Langdon missed with another attempt from the arc, McCarty, a former Dynamo St Petersburg player, hauled down the defensive rebound and went to the other end to score for a 75-72 advantage.
After another Langdon basket cut the deficit to 75-74, and when Booker missed with a long-range shot, CSKA had a chance to move back in front.
JR Holden missed, but when McCarty was off target with a three-pointer, CSKA had one last opportunity.
Greek national team hero Papaloukas was unable to make the game-winning shot, though.
Khimki’s Vladimir Veremeenko, who also played under Blatt and Kemzura at Dynamo St Petersburg, weighed in with 10 points and Russian international Vitaly Fridzon finished with 12.
The result has allowed UNICS Kazan, who beat Lokomotiv Rostov on Friday, to move into first place with a 14-2 record.
CSKA (13-2) are second while Khimki (12-4) are third.
Dynamo Moscow Region’s recent struggles continued when the EuroCup side lost 70-66 at Spartak St Petersburg.
With Dmitri Shakulin having taken the reins following the resignation of coach Rutjanis Paulauskas, the new man in charge watched his troops fall behind early and then stage a fourth-quarter fightback which proved too little, too late.
Senegalese center Boniface N’Dong, the most valuable player at the last FIBA Africa Championship, led Spartak with 24 points.
The hosts stormed into a 23-14 lead by the end of the first quarter and were in command at 59-42 with just 10 minutes remaining.
The visitors then twice pulled to within one at 65-64 and 67-66 in the final minute, only for N’Dong to reply each time with baskets.
After the second N’Dong score had made it 69-66, Roderick Blakney attempted a potential game-tying three-ball but he was off target and Spartak rebounded the miss before closing out the victory at the free throw line.
Point guard Blakney finished with a team-high 14 points in defeat.
Dynamo Moscow Region host Ukrainian powerhouse Azovmash in EuroCup Round II action this week.
A side that took part in this season’s EuroCup but failed to progress from Round I, Ural Great, won in the Superleague against CSK VVS-Samara Samara on Saturday.
Stanislav Makshantsev’s three-point play early in the fourth quarter put Ural Great into a 69-68 lead and they stayed in front the rest of the way en route to a 94-89 victory.
In the day's other game, Dynamo Moscow were 83-68 winners over Spartak VGUES Primorie.