Zenit prevails for fourth straight home win
In a clash of two previously qualified teams, Zenit St. Petersburg held off Union Olimpija Ljubljana 75-74 for its fourth consecutive home win in Sibur Arena on Wednesday. Both teams now hold 5-5 record in a tie for the third place in Group D, but Olimpija holds a head-to-head tiebreaker thanks to its 89-84 win in Round 4. Zenit led essentially the entire game, taking control early and building a double-digit lead on two occasions. But Olimpija always found ways to stay in the game, and got within 2 points in the final minute, before Artem Vikhorov helped the hosts prevail. Vikhorov finished with 20 points, Dalenta Stephens scored 12, and Dejan Borovnjak had 11 in victory. Walter Hosged had 9 points with 7 assists. Dino Muric, in his second game of the season after a long absence due to injury, led the visitors with 15 points. Marko Marinovic netted 13 with 6 assists and 6 boards, while Alen Omic amassed 12 points and 13 rebounds in the losing effort.
Zenit took control at the start of the game with a 14-2 run during which Andrey Koshcheev scored 6 points. Vikhorov and Stephens helped Zenit built 26-17 lead late in the first, but Olimpija led by Omic and Muric cut the deficit to 30-26 early in the second quarter. But Zenit replied with an 8-0 run fueled by Hodge, extending it to 38-26 and took 45-37 lead into halftime. Right after the break Borovnjak and Koshcheev got Zenit again back to a double-digit lead, but Marinovic, Blaz Mahkovic and Gregor Hrovat scored on three consecutive possessions, sparking a run of 9 unanswered point for Olimpija, 49-46. Vikhorov answered with a triple, and Stephens made a put-back to give Zenit more breathing room, as the hosts entered the fourth quarter up 59-53. Artem Komolov hit a triple to help extend it to 67-57 in the fourth, but Marinovic nailed one from long range for the visitors, and with help from Hallil Kanacevic and Mahkovic, Olimpija got back within 70-67. After baskets from Vikhorov, Paolo Marinelli knocked down a triple 64 second before the ned for 74-70, and Kanacevic cut it to 74-72 with 24 seconds to go. Vikhorov split free throws to give Zenit a 3-point cushion, and the hosts promptly fouled, not allowing Olimpija to take a shot that would have sent the game into overtime.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014