Zenit rallies past Bayern
Zenit St Petersburg snapped its three-game losing streak by defeating FC Bayern Munich 79-75 at Sibur Arena on Wednesday. Zenit improved to 8-4 and registered its first home win since beating FC Barcelona in Round 2. Bayern dropped to 9-5. Billy Baron led the winners with 20 points. Zenit also got 13 points from Will Thomas and 12 from Arturas Gudaitis. Jalen Reynolds paced Bayern with 13 points, Wade Baldwin IV and D.J. Seeley each added 12 while Paul Zipser had 10 for the visitors, who were without top scorer Vladimir Lucic.
Leon Radosevic got Bayern going with a five-meter jumper and Nihad Dedovic added a three-pointer, but Gudaitis brought Zenit within 4-5. Seeley followed a driving layup with a wild three-point play to boost the lead to 4-10. Andrey Zubkov took over with an acrobatic basket, Austin Hollins and KC Rivers each struck from downtown and Kevin Pangos added a layup to help Zenit tie it at 14-14. Reynolds sank back-to-back jumpers, and Zan Sisko banked in a running shot for a 14-20 Bayern lead after 10 minutes. Baron buried a triple early in the second quarter. Reynolds followed a fallaway jumper with a two-handed slam, but Baron scored twice around the basket and Pangos hit a jumper to cause Bayern to stop the game at 23-26. Zipser struck twice from beyond the arc, but Gudaitis and Mateusz Ponitka brought Zenit within 29-34. Baldwin and JaJuan Johnson rescued the guests and Nick Weiler-Babb beat the halftime buzzer with a wild three-point play for a 35-43 Bayern lead at halftime.
Seeley sank a corner triple that made it a double-digit game right after the break. Johnson scored down low and Dedovic added a coast-to-coast layup that boosted the lead to 37-50. Gudaitis stepped up with a tip-in, Thomas added a layup and Baron sank a triple that gave Zenit hope at 44-52. After Dedovic answered from downtown, Baron and Johnson traded jumpers. Zipser scored for a 48-60 Bayern margin. Baron struck again from beyond the arc and Hollins buried an 18-meter prayer to get Zenit within 56-60 at the end of the third quarter. Hollins sank a triple early in the fourth quarter, but Radosevic and Baldwin gave Bayern fresh air at 59-64. Alex Poythress scored in the paint and Thomas sank a step-back jumper to get Zenit within 63-64. Seeley answered with a put-back layup that Poythress bettered with a three-point play for a 66-66 tie. Sisko and Pangos exchanged three-pointers, but Seeley gave Bayern a 69-71 edge with 3 minutes left. Ponitka answered from downtown to give Zenit its first lead of the night. Reynolds scored down low and Sisko added a tip-in, but Baron tied it from beyond the arc, 75-75. Thomas hit free throws and Poythress hit a jump hook that sealed the outcome, 79-75, with 36.6 seconds left.
Thomas stepped up when his team needed him most, scoring 8 points in the final 14 minutes. He finished the game with 13 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and 5 fouls drawn for a game-high PIR of 25.
Bayern led 72-75 late in the game but Baron buried a spectacular three-point shot, Thomas added free throws and Poythress hit a critical jump hook which allowed Zenit to win the game. The game came down to the final 2 minutes and that 7-0 run allowed the hosts to win it.
Both teams had very similar stats other than three-point shots. Zenit hit 11 of 23 shots from downtown (47.8%) and Bayern only made 6 of 14 attempts from beyond the arc (42.9%). That accuracy from downtown allowed Zenit to win the game.
Did you know?
Zenit grabbed its first win against Bayern in EuroLeague action. The German powerhouse previously downed Zenit 77-69 at home in December 2019 and 68-77 at Sibur Arena in February 2020. Zenit snapped a four-game losing streak against Bayern, which also beat the Russian powerhouse twice in the 2017-18 7DAYS EuroCup Top 16.
Both teams return to EuroLeague action later this week. Zenit visits CSKA Moscow on Friday in an all-Russian showdown. Later that day, Bayern hosts TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz at Audi Dome.
Wednesday, December 16, 2020