Huge runs allow Zenit to thrash Baskonia
Zenit St Petersburg launched two huge runs to demolish Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 83-54 and split the tie between the teams in the middle of the standings. Baskonia led from the start and got into a 9-point lead, but a 24-0 run in just over 6 minutes before half-time changed the game in Zenit’s favour for a 45-30 interval lead. Another big run, 16-0, saw Zenit take the lead well past 20 points in the third quarter and the game was over. Jordan Loyd led the scoring with 20 points and added 8 rebounds, and Alex Poythress gave a superb all-round performance with 8 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocked shots. Jordan Mickey added 10 points and 7 rebounds, while Dmitry Kulagin scored 12 and Billy Baron added 10. Jayson Granger led Baskonia’s resistance with 13 points, while Simone Fontecchio and Wade Baldwin both scored 12. Zenit improves to 4-3, while Baskonia drops to 3-4.
Free throws accounted for the first 6 points, before Landry Nnoko and Mickey traded close-range scores for a 5-5 tie. Nnoko stayed hot with a three-pointer and a layup, followed by a Granger triple for a 7-13 lead. Loyd and Baldwin both scored three-point plays, before Loyd added a triple to close the gap to 13-16. Baldwin from inside and Granger from deep stretched Baskonia’s lead, but Loyd struck another threeball, Poythress made free throws and Conner Frankamp scored inside to make it 21-23 after ten minutes. Two scores from Fontecchio early in the second quarter kept the visitors in front, and Steven Enoch made it 21-30 with a 0-7 run which was ended by a three-point play from Poythress. Then Zenit charged as Kulagin added a three-pointer, Mateusz Ponitka scored in transition and Mickey hit from deep to make it 32-30, Zenit’s first lead. Loyd’s free throws, a pair of Kulagin triples, Arturas Gudaitis’s layup-and-one and a Poythress dunk completed a 24-0 run for a 45-30 advantage at the break.
Granger tried to reignite Baskonia with the first points after halftime, before Gudaitis responded from close range. Baldwin scored 5 fast points to keep the visitors moving, but deep strikes from Mickey, Kulagin and Baron maintained a comfortable Zenit margin, 58-37. Baron scored twice and Mindaugas Kuzminskas hit a triple for a 16-0 run, and it was 65-37 at the end of the third. Fontecchio hit a triple at the start of the fourth, but Andrey Zubkov did likewise for Zenit. A big slam from Enoch and a three-point play for Arturs Kurucs tried to reduce the gap, before Zubkov and Granger traded three-point blows. Loyd was also on target from long-range and inside, and a brutal dunk from Gudaitis followed by a triple from Baron were the highlights in the final minutes as Zenit eased to victory.
Huge runs change game for Zenit
Zenit failed to score for the opening 3:48 of the second quarter, allowing Baskonia to grab a 21-30 lead, the biggest of the lead so far. But the home team then switched gears and launched a game-changing 24-0 run, as Baskonia did not score a single point in the closing 6:31 of the first half. Remarkably, the same thing happened in the third quarter with Baskonia failing to score in the final 7:14 of the period as Zenit went on a 16-0 run to seal the outcome way before the end.
New rebounding record for Zenit
Baskonia headed into the game as the league’s best rebounding team with an average of 39.5 boards per game, but Zenit crashed the boards to turn that stat around in dramatic fashion and set a new club record in the process. The home team was an especially dominant rebounding force in the first half, grabbing 31 boards to just 16 for Baskonia by the interval. Zenit finished with 52 rebounds, smashing the club’s previous EuroLeague record of 41. Alex Poythress led the way with 9 rebounds, while Jordan Loyd and Mateusz Ponitka both had 8.
Zenit does it all: blocks, three-pointers and winning margin
Another standout stat from Zenit’s big win over Baskonia on Friday was the home team’s 6 blocked shots, the joint-second highest tally in club history. Four of those blocks came from the hands of Alex Poythress, the joint-highest number achieved by any EuroLeague player so far this season. Zenit also knocked down 14 three-point shots on 31 attempts, just 2 short of the club record in the competition of 16. And the 29-point winning margin was close to a club record, set last season with a 34-point victory over LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne.
Friday, October 29, 2021