Panathinaikos holds off Zenit on the road
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens registered its first road win of the season by holding off Zenit St Petersburg 79-89 on Thursday night. Panathinaikos improved to a 2-2 record on the season, while Zenit dropped to 1-3. The Greens led for much of the night, by as much as 49-63 in the third quarter, behind Nick Calathes and Jimmer Fredette. Mateusz Ponitka led Zenit's charge, and the hosts got to within 76-79, but Panathinaikos held on. Fredette finished with 22 points and DeShuan Thomas scored 17 more for the winners. Jacob Wiley added 14 points while Calathes had 8 points and dished 15 assists. Ponitka collected 16 points and 6 rebounds for Zenit. Andrew Albicy netted 15 points, Gustavo Ayon and Will Thomas had 12 apiece, and Colton Iverson scored 10 in defeat.
The hosts were firing often from downtown in the early going, with three-pointers from Albicy and Vladislav Trushkin giving Zenit an early advantage. Another triple from Albicy made it 14-10, but DeShaun Thomas had a triple to start his personal run of 10 consecutive points that let the visitors finish the first quarter with a 20-22 lead. Gustavo Ayon and Konstantinos Mitoglou exchange close-range baskets in the second quarter before DeShaun Thomas extend the Panathinaikos lead to 28-34 with a fastbreak layup. However, Albicy hit back-to-back triples to erase the deficit before the Greens went into halftime holding a 38-40 advantage. At the start of the third quarter, Panathinaikos caught fire from long range, with Fredette sinking a pair of threes, and Ioannis Papapetrou and DeShaun Thomas hitting one apiece, to extend the margin to 47-57. A pair of runners from Fredette pushed the lead to 14 points, but Ponitka strung together 6 points for Zenit, and together with Colton Iverson fueled the hosts' 11-2 run to draw within 60-65 going into the fourth quarter. Wiley and Calathes gave the visitors breathing space before a three-pointer from Tyrese Rice opened a 64-73 advantage. Ayon scored inside and Will Thomas hit from the outside to cut into deficit before a corner triple from Trushkin made it 76-79. Papapetrou had a pair of key offensive boards, and Fredette hit a short jumper as Panathinaikos kept the lead to close out the game.
A successful first
This was the first-ever meeting between these sides, as Panathinaikos visited St. Petersburg for the first time. It is also the second consecutive win for the Greens on Russian soil, after downing CSKA in Moscow last season.
Calathes back to dishing
Nick Calathes, the EuroLeague single-season record holder in assists, had a total of 19 through the first three rounds, but then dished 15 assists against Zenit. It is the most assists by a player this season, and the third-most for Calathes in his career. Panathinaikos entered Round 4 averaging 13.0 assists per game, and finished this game with 27.
Key three-point burst
Panathinaikos hit just 1 of 7 triples in the first half, then went 4-for-4 in the first 5 minutes of the third quarter to open a 10-point lead. Panathinaikos shot 1-for-6 from downtown the rest of the game, but that three-point burst gave the visitors a lead they never relinquished.
In Round 5's opener on Tuesday, Panathinaikos goes back to Russia to face Khimki Moscow Region, while a day later Zenit travels to face Zalgiris Kaunas.
Thursday, October 24, 2019