Zenit defeated Nizhny Novgorod at home- 90:74 (23:22, 20:14, 27:22, 20:16).
The best scorers
Zenit: Conner Frankamp (20 + 6 assists), Jordan Mickey (16), Mindaugas Kuzminskas (10).
Nizhny Novgorod: Anton Astpkovich (23 + 8 rebounds), Sergey Toropov (11).
Zenit (5-1) came to the game on the 3rd line in the standings and with a series of 4 consecutive wins. Nizhny Novgorod was in 6th place, with 4 wins and 3 losses.
The beginning of the game was held in an equal battle. But after a couple of minutes, Zenit snopers found their shots: 2 three-pointers from Mateusz Ponitka and Sergey Karasev brought the hosts ahead. Anton Astapkovich tried to wake up his team and scored 8 points out of 10 team points in the 1st quarter. However, Zenit’s variable offense turned out to be more effective. As part of the hosts, 5 of the 7 basketball players who came out on the court scored. Zenit went to the first break with a minimum lead – 23:22.
The intense game was continued in the 2nd quarter. The leadership changed for almost the entire quarter, and the maximum advantage of one of the teams was only 4 points. But at the end of the 1st half, Zenit became more active. Conner Frankamp’s seven points and Arturas Gudaitis actions allowed Zenit to increase the advantage by the halftime – 43:36.
The 3rd quarter began with Nizhny Novgorod 5-point run, to which Zenit responded with 3 long-range shots by Jordan Mickey and all the same Frankamp and Ponitka. And after Mindaugas Kuzminskas shot, the difference in the score for the 1st time overcame the double-digit mark – 58:48. Mickey continued to punish NN who lost the rhythm and at the end of the quarter and Zenit managed to maintain a comfortable advantage before the last quarter – 70:58.
The key moment
At the beginning of the 4th quarter, the hosts managed to break away by 15 points after a three-pointer by Igor Volkhin and a dunk by Arturas Gudaitis. A series of shots by Kuzminskas and Zubkov, as well as Nizhny mistakes helped Zenit consolidate their success. Finally, the guests tries to resist was broken by a 3-minute drought in the offense in the middle of the quarter, as a result Zenit systematically increased the lead and removed all questions about the winner of the game.
The 5th win in a row helped Zenit to get in the group of leaders with UNICS and Avtodor.
Conner Frankamp. American point guard got very good game. He became the leader of Zenit squad. Conner has 20 points, 6 assists and 22 eff points. Also he made 6 out of 9 from the field, as well as all 4 free-throws.
62% – shots from behind the arc became a key factor in Zenit win in today’s game. The hosts made 10 three-pointers out of 16.
Xavier Pascual, Zenit Head Coach :
— We are happy to win. The day before, we couldn’t even have a normal training session due to there are a lot of injured players in the team. Despite the fact that today we had a small selection of guards, our approach to the game was correct, we played well in defense and offense, and also controlled the game. We managed to take this important win, I hope it will help us further along the way. Jordan Loyd could not play because he was injured in the game against Fenerbahce. Let’s see if he can go to France.
Zoran Lukic, Nizhny Novgorod Head Coach:
– Four quarters have been lost. Zenit put everything in its place and showed how the team plays on dry quality at the end. 10 players in the rotation, this quality clearly put my team in place. Some of my players got lost in the game, unfortunately, this game showed what quality means, how it looks.
Zenit: home game against Avtodor on December 20.
Nizhny Novgorod: home game against Lokomotiv Kuban on December 18.