Toolson leads Zenit past Szolnoki
Zenit St. Petersburg shows its authority in Group E by downing Szolnoki Olaj 89-64 at home on Wednesday. Zenit, which had qualified to the Last 32 before this game, improved to 7-1 and keeps leading this group's standings. Szolnoki dropped to 3-5 and saw its three-game winning streak come to an end. Ryan Toolson led the winners with 28 points on 5-of-7 three-point shots. Zabian Dowdell added 8 assists for Zenit. Milos Borisov and David Vojvoda led Szolnoki with 12 points apiece. Toolson and Anton Pushkov fueled an early 9-0 run and a three-point play by Janis Timma soon gave Zenit a double-digit lead, 17-6. Dmitry Golovin and an unstoppable Toolson boosted the hosts' lead to 24-10 after 10 minutes. Vojvoda and Borisov managed to bring Szolnoki a bit closer, 30-21, but Toolson had 7 quick points and got help from Timma to restore a 45-31 Zenit margin at halftime. Toolson kept pacing the hosts after the break, allowing Zenit to boost its margin to 59-35. Nothing changed since that moment, as Zenit boosted its margin to 70-42 after 30 minutes and never looked back.
Strahinja Milosevic got Szolnoki going with a layup but Zenit bounced back, as Toolson and Pushkov fueled a 9-0 run which gave the hosts a 9-2 lead. Vojvoda found his first points and Oleksandr Lypovyy added a basket but a red hot Toolson forced Szolnoki to call timeout at 14-6. A three-point play by Timma soon made it a double-digit game, 17-6. Dmitry Golovin struck from downtown and Kyle Landry soon gave Zenit a 22-8 margin. Kyryl Natyazhko and Evgeny Valiev exchanged baskets for a 24-10 score after 10 minutes. Dino Gregory and Vojvoda stepped up for the guests early in the second quarter but Landry and Dowdell kept Zenit way ahead, 28-17. Pushkov shined with a three-point play but Krisztian Wittman and Borisov got Szolnoki within single digits, 30-21. Toolson took over with consecutive baskets and soon struck from downtown to make the guests call timeout at 37-23. Golovin, Milosevic and Timma each nailed one from beyond the arc and even when Valiev scored again, Borisov allowed Szolnoki to get within 45-31 at halftime.
Aaron Craft scored off a steal right after the break but Toolson did better with a big triple off the dribble and a stop-and-pop jumper in transition to make the guests call timeout at 50-33. Timma also buried one from downtown and even when Craft hit a mid-range jumper, Artem Vikhrov nailed his own triple to break the game open, 56-35. Toolson made free throws and a layup by Landry made it a 26-point game, 61-35. Toolson - who else? - sank his fifth three-pointer, as Szolnoki foun a go-to guy in Natyazhko. Golovin and Antipov stepped up for Zenit late in the third quarter to keep the hosts way ahead, 70-42, at the end of the third quarter. Far from being done, Zenit kept excelling on defense, while a three-pointer by Vikhrov and a layup by Landry boosted the hosts' lead to 75-42. Vojvoda and Toolson exchanged baskets and by the time Antipov hit a triple, everything was said and done already. Zenit kept getting closer to clinch first place while Szolnoki must bounce back right away to keep its Last 32 options alive.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015