Popovic carries Khimki to OT win at Nymburk
Marko Popovic scored 8 of his game-high 24 points in overtime as Khimki Moscow Region defeated CEZ Nymburk 80-86. The Czech champs had led by double figures in the third quarter and 8 in the fourth, but Khimki had the answers and then found the extra energy needed to pull away in the overtime period. Kreso Loncar added 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting and Mickael Gelabale scored 15 for the winners, who improved to 3-0 in the Last 32 with their 12th straight Eurocup victory. Nymburk dropped to 1-2 and third place in the group. Rado Rancik paced Nymburk with 17 points, Tre Simmons and Dylan Page scored 16 each, Rasid Mahalbasic tallied 13 points and 9 rebounds and Vlado Ilievski added 11 points.
The game was close from the start, with neither team leading by more than 3 throughout the first quarter, which finished tied at 20-20 after Petteri Koponen’s three-pointer. Simmons put Nymburk up 26-22 only to see Popovic resond with back-to-back threes. Then Page heated up with a pair of threes to ignite a 10-0 Nymburk run for a 39-30 advantage. The lead reached 12 on a Rancik score before Loncar and Gelabale narrowed the gap to 46-38 at halftime. Khimki’s defense came alive in the third quarter, holding the hosts scoreless for five-plus minutes before Popovic nailed 2 more threes to tie the game at 54-54. Simmons scored the first two baskets of the fourth quarter to break Nymburk’s drought and Rancik made it 64-56 inside of three minutes. Free throws by Gelabale and Popovic brought Khimki back and Loncar tied the game at 69-69 with 1:25 remaining. An Ilievski triple put Nymburk in control, but Mike Green tied the game from the line with 48 seconds remaining, 72-72. Neither team scored on its final possessions in regulation and the game went to overtime. Khimki scored the first 6 points of the extra session before Ilievski knocked down a three. However Popovic matched him and his layup with a minute left in the quarter raised the difference to 9 as Khimki snatched a tough road win.