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Broekhoff's scoring outburst secures third place in Euroleague
Ryan Broekhoff was on fire, pouring in an equal team-high 21 points as he led Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar to victory over Laboral Kutxa Vitoria to clinch third place in the Euroleague Final Four.
Lokomotiv took on Laboral Kutxa Vitoria in the playoff for third place, and it started out as a back and forth affair. Coming out of the gates Lokomotiv looked like the better team, as they came out with more energy and hustle, which allowed them to take a 20-16 lead. However the Spaniards fought back with a strong showing in the second quarter. They stepped up to outplay their adversary, outscoring Lokomotiv 26-20 in the quarter, which let them go into halftime up 42-40.
After the main break, Lokomotiv started to turn up their renown defensive intensity. They shutdown Laboral Kutxa in the third period, restricting them to 11 points, and giving the Russian side the lead 61-53. But Laboral Kutxa would continue to fight back with their play in the final frame of action, however it wasn’t enough as Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar came away with a convincing win 85-75.
Ryan Broekhoff against Laboral Kutxa Vitoria in Euroleague Final Four| Credit: Lokomotiv Kuban Press Service
Ryan Broekhoff’s outstanding play on both ends of the floor was instrumental in Lokomotiv's ground-breaking victory in their first appearance in the Euroleague Final Four. He finished the night playing a game-high 38 minutes, making four shots from behind the arc on his way to scoring an equal team-high 21 points. He collected his big haul on an efficient 7/10 shooting with 6 rebounds, 3 assists and getting his hands on one steal in 38 minutes. His excellent play came at the perfect time, helping Lokomotiv Kuban end their outstanding season on a high note.
"The third place game was for pride and to give our fans and club something to cheer for," shared Broekhoff after the game in speaking with The Pick and Roll. "Third place in all of Europe is a huge achievement, so we wanted to win the game."
Broekhoff was outstanding on the big stage in the Final Four. He made 80% of his 2-point field goal attempts, 83.3% from the free throw line and a red-hot 50% from beyond the 3-point line on his way to averaging an impressive 15.5 points across the two games. His numbers bettered those across all 31 Euroleague games this season in which he was a model of consistency with 8.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1 steal per game while shooting a sizzling 47.2% from beyond the arc.
While disappointed that his side was unable to play off for the championship, Broekhoff was happy with his own contributions towards his side's success.
"It was nice to finish the season personally with a good performance and help the team get a win," added Broekhoff. "Next for me is to take a little rest and come home to Australia before the Boomers camp begins in early July."
With an impressive debut year in the Euroleague with Lokomotiv now over, an impressive 2016 Olympic campaign with the Boomers could be the key to unlocking his NBA career.