Shengelia roars as CSKA tops Zenit
Toko Shengelia erupted for a career-high 33 points to lead CSKA Moscow to a 77-67 victory over Zenit St Petersburg on Tuesday evening at Megasport Arena in the Russian capital. CSKA won its second straight game to improve to 2-1 and dropped Zenit to the same record. CSKA never trailed, in large part thanks to Shengelia, who scored 8 in a row during a 16-2 start to the game. He also collected a team-high 8 rebounds and added 2 assists and 2 steals. Will Clyburn tallied 16 points and 7 boards for the winners. Jordan Loyd led Zenit with 19 points.
CSKA jumped out to a great start with baskets on each of its first four possessions – including 6 points from Shengelia. More than 3 and a half minutes passed before Andrey Zubkov's layup got Zenit on the scoreboard. Daniel Hackett's three from the corner gave the hosts a double-digit lead and Johannes Voihtman added a triple for a commanding 16-2 lead. The trio of Arturas Gudaitis, Andrey Zubkov and Loyd came off the bench and lifted Zenit to trim the gap. A three by Zubkov on the first-quarter buzzer made it 21-14.
Zenit's defense forced turnovers on the first three possessions of the second quarter as the difference shrunk to 4. Shengelia scored after having his own shot blocked by Gudaitis and Alexey Shved added a mid-range jumper as the hosts soared to 27-18. Jordan Mickey, Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Alex Poythress highlighted a 0-7 Zenit response. Baron got the visitors within 1, but Clyburn and Shengelia helped CSKA pull away again. A remarkable layup from Loyd that just beat the halftime buzzer made it 36-31 at the break.
After Shengelia drove for the first points of the second half, Dmitry Kulagin hit a three and a hook shot for the visitors. Loyd tied the game at 38-38 with a jumper. Back-to-back threes by Voigtmann and Shengelia ignited an 8-0 CSKA run as the hosts regained control. Loyd converted a four-point play and remained Zenit's first choice on offense, however, there was no stopping Shengelia, who added a three and a layup to reach 30 points and make it 57-49 with 2 and a half minutes left in the quarter. Mickey beat the 24-second clock with a three before Clyburn's jumper ended the third quarter with CSKA ahead 59-52.
Nikita Kurbanov dunked and Clyburn scored twice as CSKA reextended its lead into double figures and prompted a Zenit timeout at 66-54. Though the visitors found their rhythm, they could not stop CSKA, which proceeded to trade baskets. Shengelia drove the baseline for a basket-plus-foul with less than 2 minutes remaining that gave him a career-high in scoring and CSKA coated the rest of the way.
Key performer: Anther dominant performance by Shengelia
On the heels of his MVP of the Round performance in Round 2 in Istanbul, Toko Shengelia outdid himself at home. The CSKA Moscow big man set a career-high in scoring and tied his career-best in performance index rating, numbers which are even more impressive considering the defensive reputation of the opponent, Zenit St Petersburg. Shengelia made 10 of 16 two-pointers and 2 of 4 threes plus 7 of 11 free throws en route to 33 points. His previous best was a 31-point effort with Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz against Maccabi Tel Aviv in November 2019. Shengelia added 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and drew 7 fouls for a PIR of 37, which matched his mark from a January 2020 game with Baskonia against Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul. He raised his averages for the season to 21 points, 6 rebounds and a PIR of 24.3 per game.
Telling numbers: Zenit allowed 26 points off turnovers
Zenit St Petersburg suffered many self-inflicted wounds in its loss to CSKA Moscow. The visitors committed 16 turnovers and had just 3 steals. What's more, CSKA cashed those turnovers into 26 points. CSKA made half as many turnovers. The hosts outrebounded Zenit 35-29 including 13 offensive rebounds, from which they scored 15 second-chance points. Points should come easiest from the free-throw line, but Zenit made only 10 of 19 from the stripe (52.6%). All of that proved to be too much for Zenit to overcome on the road.
Turning point: Third-quarter threes by Voigtmann, Shengelia
CSKA Moscow opened the game on a 16-2 tear and seemed to be prepared to steamroll the visitors from St Petersburg. However, Zenit fought back to within 1 late in the second quarter before heading to halftime down 36-31. Dmitry Kulagin and Jordan Loyd joined forces as Zenit completed its comeback to even the score at 38-38 in the fourth minute of the second half. Just when it seemed that Zenit had the momentum, Johannes Voigtmann nailed a three to regain the lead for CSKA and Loyd missed from behind the arc. Then Shengelia knocked down a shot from downtown. And when Daniel Hackett, who assisted on those back-to-back triples, stole the ball from Mateusz Ponitka and sent Shengelia for a fast break slam, the momentum was back in CSKA's pocket.
Tuesday, October 12, 2021