The League’s best defense was stronger than the best offense: Zenit beat CSKA

The League’s best defense was stronger than the best offense: Zenit beat CSKA

Zenit defeated CSKA in St. Petersburg – 81:71 (20:16, 19:19, 29:19, 13:17).

Game progress
The game between rivals didn’t start well. In Casper Ware absence, Samson Ruzhentsev took the guard’s responsibility, but Zenit offense looked more varied, the hosts began to increase the lead. Xavier Pascual team was motivated to develop the score in the second half.

Zenit started the third quarter very active, and within 3 minutes the difference was already 9 points. The Army team tried to catch up with three-pointers, but Zenit looked more solid – 6 long-range shots in the quarter compared to 3. In the final minute of the quarter, Bojan Dubljevic made 2 three-pointers, and by the start of the final quarter, CSKA trailed by 14 – 68:54.

Key moment
CSKA started the final quarter with 2 three-pointers by Nikita Kurbanov and Ivan Ukhov. However, the Army team was unable to get back into the game. Dubljevic and Trent Frazier not only regained the difference, but also increased it to 15. CSKA managed to escape a huge loss. The Moscow team lost the 6th game of the season and now is risking to lose the lead in the standings – if UNICS will beat Loko, the Kazan team will take the top spot.

Bojan Dubljevic and Trent Frazier coming off the bench had a decisive impact. The players were involved in most of the St. Petersburg team actions and combined for 39 points – exactly three times more than all of CSKA bench players.

For the first time in history, CSKA has suffered 3 straight losses in the United League regular season. In February, the team lost to UNICS and PARMA. By the way, for the first time CSKA got 3 straight losses to Zenit in the Finals 2022.

In a rivalry between the best offense of the season (87.6 points for CSKA) and the best defense (Zenit allowed 72.9 points), the St. Petersburg team defense won. Zenit let the Moscow team even less than its average, 71 points.

Thomas Heurtel needed 4 assists to reach 500 in the United League. Thomas made 8 assists in this game and became the 18th player in the League history to made such number. It only took 62 games to do.

Zenit: Trent Frazier (24), Bojan Dubljevic (15 + 6 rebounds), Kyle Kuric (10), Vince Hunter (10), Tomas Heurtel (7 + 8 assists), Adrien Moerman (6 + 6 rebounds).
CSKA: Melo Trimble (14 + 6 assists), Amath M’Baye (12), Livio Jean-Charles (12), Anton Astapkovic (11), Samson Ruzhentsev (9 + 5 rebounds).

What’s next
Zenit (19-9): March 6 on the road against PARMA
CSKA (22-6): March 5 at home versus UNICS.