2020-21PlayoffsGame 1
April 21, 2021 CET: 21:00
Local time: 21:00 PALAU BLAUGRANA

Zenit upsets Barcelona in Game 1

In its first-ever Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs showdown, Zenit St Petersburg left no doubt about its power and sent a message that echoed all around the continent by downing FC Barcelona 74-76 at Palau Blaugrana in Game 1 of their best-of-five series on Wednesday. Barcelona hosts Game 2 on Friday. Kevin Pangos led the winners with 19 points and 9 assists, Will Thomas added 12 points and K.C. Rivers scored 11 for Zenit, which was without injured swingman Mateusz Ponitka. Brandon Davies led Barcelona with 18 points, Cory Higgins scored 15, Kyle Kuric 12 and Nikola Mirotic 10. Billy Baron and an outstanding Pangos helped Zenit get a 34-48 margin at the break. Davies put Barcelona ahead, 72-71, but Rivers hit a big three-pointer and Pangos added a left-handed floater to make sure Zenit got the victory, becoming the first eighth-seeded team to win Game 1 of a EuroLeague Playoffs series.

Nick Calathes got Barcelona going with a driving layup and Mirotic struck from downtown but Pangos and Arturas Gudaitis soon gave Zenit its first lead, 5-7. Higgins and Austin Hollins traded close baskets and Gudaitis scored in the paint for a 7-11 Zenit edge. Higgins hit a jumper and Pau Gasol added a triple but Thomas kept the guests ahead, 12-15. Pangos insisted from beyond the arc but Davies and Alex Abrines fueled a 9-0 run that put the hosts in charge, 21-18. Gudaitis and Khvostov tied the game, 21-21, after 10 minutes. Alex Poythress scored twice down low early in the second quarter, making Barcelona call timeout at 21-25. Kuric stepped up with a three-point play but Andrey Zubkov sank a jumper and Hollins struck from beyond the arc for a 24-30 score. Pangos took over with a three-point play, found Baron for back-to-back triples and hit his own shot from downtown to boost Zenit's margin to 28-42. Thomas followed a layup with a turnaround jumper and Zubkov added a floater but Higgins and Davies kept the hosts within 34-48 at halftime.

Higgins sank a step-back jumper soon after the break and Calathes gave Barcelona hope at 38-48. Rivers answered with a layup-plus-foul but Davies followed a jump hook with a put-back basket and Calathes added a floater for a 44-53 Barcelona deficit. Victor Claver ignited his team's bench with a three-point play and Mirotic's backdoor layup made it a four-point game, 49-53. Calathes downed another floater but Tarik Black gave Zenit fresh air at 51-56. Rivers followed a triple with a wild jumper but Mirotic kept the hosts within 54-61 after 30 minutes. Kuric buried a three-pointer early in the fourth quarter, matched Thomas's step-back jumper with a floater and added a backdoor layup for a 61-63 Barcelona deficit. Hollins answered from beyond the arc, Adam Hanga and Zubkov exchanged baskets and Davies made it 66-68 with 3 minutes left. Higgins banked in a running shot in transition, but Pangos did better with a triple. Davies answered from downtown and split free throws to complete Barcelona's comeback, 72-71, with 1:09 to go. After Rivers buried a huge three-pointer, Davies tied it with a put-back slam. Pangos answered with a floater for a 74-76 Zenit lead with 10.7 seconds remaining. Higgins missed and Barcelona fouled Black, who missed both attempts with 1.8 seconds to go. Barcelona could not get a shot up on time, allowing Zenit to celebrate a historic win.

Pivotal performer

Kevin Pangos dominated the game tempo and hit the go-ahead shot, a left-handed floater in the lane that eventually fixed the final score. He finished the game with 19 points on 3-of-3 two-pointers and 4-of-6 three-pointers, plus 3 rebounds, 9 assists and 7 fouls drawn for a PIR of 33. No other Zenit player had a PIR higher than 11.

Game-changing moment

Barcelona completed its comeback, 72-71, in the next-to-last minute. Zenit used a long possession that K.C. Rivers capped with a wild three-pointer. Brandon Davies dunked at the other end but Kevin Pangos answered with a floater, putting Zenit ahead for good, 74-76, with 10.7 seconds left. A defensive stop allowed the guests to seal the outcome.

Stellar stat

Barcelona only had 11 turnovers, but Zenit collected 8 steals. Almost every time the hosts turned the ball over, it ended up in Zenit's hands. On the other hand, Zenit had 10 turnovers but Barcelona only collected 1 steal.

Did you know?

Since the playoffs format returned to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague in 2005, this was Barcelona's second home loss in Game 1. Its previous home loss in Game 1 of the playoffs came against Tau Ceramica (currently TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz) in 2009, 75-84. Barcelona, however, made it to the Final Four that season, downing Baskonia 3-2 in the playoffs.

Next game

Both teams meet again in Game 2 of their best-of-five series on Friday, April 23. No team has ever come back from a 0-2 deficit in EuroLeague Playoffs history.

Kevin Pangos - Zenit St petersburg - EB20
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Attendance: 0
By Quarter1234
FC Barcelona21132020
Zenit St Petersburg21271315
End of Quarter1234
FC Barcelona21345474
Zenit St Petersburg21486176
FC Barcelona
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 DAVIES, BRANDON 27:38 18 3/7 2/2 6/8 6 3 9 1   1     2 6 25
2 WESTERMANN, LEO 4:18                         2   -2
8 HANGA, ADAM 12:25 2 1/4       3 3 3   2     2 1 2
10 SMITS, ROLANDS 10:26   0/1             1            
16 GASOL, PAU 4:46 3   1/1                     1 4
18 ORIOLA, PIERRE 7:36         1 1 2     1     3   -2
21 ABRINES, ALEX 12:23 2 1/1                     1 2 3
22 HIGGINS, CORY 30:22 15 4/11 1/3 4/4   2 2 6   1   1 1 3 14
24 KURIC, KYLE 17:41 12 3/4 1/1 3/3   2 2           3 3 13
30 CLAVER, VICTOR 12:23 4 1/1   2/3   2 2           1 2 6
33 MIROTIC, NIKOLA 29:12 10 2/6 2/2   1 1 2     2     2   4
99 CALATHES, NICK 30:50 8 4/7 0/2     3 3 5   3   1 1 2 8
Team           1 2 3     1         2
Totals 200:00 74 19/42 7/11 15/18 9 19 28 15 1 11 0 2 18 20 77
        45.2% 63.6% 83.3%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Zenit St Petersburg
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 RIVERS, KC 28:50 11 2/3 2/3 1/1 1 1 2 1 1       3 1 11
3 ZAKHAROV, DENIS 2:12           1 1 1   1         1
4 PANGOS, KEVIN 34:50 19 3/3 4/6 1/1   3 3 9   1     2 7 33
7 FRIDZON, VITALY DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
9 HOLLINS, AUSTIN 20:08 8 1/4 2/4   1 1 2           2   3
10 THOMAS, WILL 29:29 12 5/8 0/1 2/2   1 1 1 1       2 2 11
12 BARON, BILLY 16:13 6 0/2 2/7         1         3 1 -2
13 KHVOSTOV, DMITRY 5:00 2 1/1               1     1 1 1
20 ZUBKOV, ANDREY 23:18 6 3/3     2   2 1 1 1       2 11
22 POYTHRESS, ALEX 15:46 4 2/4       5 5   3 2 1   2   7
28 BLACK, TARIK 15:04 3 1/3 0/1 1/4 2 4 6   1 2     4 2  
77 GUDAITIS, ARTURAS 9:10 5 2/3   1/2   1 1   1 1 1   1 2 6
Team             1 1     1          
Totals 200:00 76 20/34 10/22 6/10 6 18 24 14 8 10 2 0 20 18 82
        58.8% 45.5% 60%
Head coach: PASCUAL, XAVI

Head Coaches

FC Barcelona
"Congratulations to Xavi [Pascual] and congratulations to Zenit. I think they came out into the game with very clear ideas about how they wanted to play. They were a lot more solid than we were, especially defensively. I think our first half, defensively, was very, very bad. We cannot start the playoffs in this matter. Even when we tried to recuperate the lead and at some point, we tied the game, at the same time, it was not enough. Zenit, at the end, hit a lot of difficult shots and overall, probably deserved to win the game. We dug ourselves in a hole and now, it is up to us to get out from it. Honestly, I didn't expect this. I didn't expect to come out like this. I am disappointed and the best news today is that we have a little time to correct the difficult situation we are in. This can clearly happen in playoffs, we are playing against a very good team."
Zenit St Petersburg

"Barcelona is a great team. I was completely sure that they would be back in the game. It was obvious that it would happen. But finally, in the last part of the game, we lost control a little bit. We have to improve our game in the last part but still, we were believing in ourselves, continued playing defense and finally, we could close the game with this important win for us. We know it is almost impossible to beat Barcelona three times, but we have to continue. The bad news, again, is that we have one more injured player, now Arturas Gudaitis. We are completely unlucky because he is an extremely important player for us and after Mateusz Ponitka, is a big crash for us. But we have to find the way to continue. Game 2 is on Friday and we have to continue playing the way we did all season. We have to continue like this: good defense, good organization on offense, knowing what we have to do in any occasion and nothing else. We have to continue."

"First of all, it is a pleasure to be here one more time. I think tonight we played to our limits. We played an excellent game - on defense, from the beginning, but also on offense. We followed exactly what we prepared to do. Sometimes, like this, you can win, sometimes you don't. When you play against a team like Barcelona, you usually lose, but in tonight's game, we could more or less lead all the game. We were over the score all the time. In the last part of the game, for sure, Barcelona played amazing. They scored and played excellent defense and it was difficult for us to organize our game on offense, but finally, in the last part of the game, we scored 2-3 important shots and kept our possibilities until the end, and through the last defense, we had this important win for us. We know it is almost impossible to beat Barcelona in three games, but at least, to start like this in this playoff, it makes us very happy."


FC Barcelona
"This is a playoff series and you don't have much time to think. We didn't want to start it with a loss, but it already happened. We have to lift our heads and give everything we have. Every game will be like a final and I am sure that Friday's game will be one of the most important ones this season. We have to win, no question. We fought until the end, but they led by almost 20 points, which is a lot against a well-organized team like Zenit, which is playing good basketball. They are doing very well on defense. We have to improve many things on Friday."
Zenit St Petersburg
"We talked about it at halftime and we have been saying it before we came here to play. They are going to be a great team. If we are under the score or ahead of the score, they are going to manage to find the way to get back and maybe take the game and we have to stay on course, stay on what our game plan is and continue to believe that we can do it. And we did it tonight. Right now, you take it game by game. Nothing is crucial - this was War no. 1. War no. 2 is on Friday and we have to go back and prepare, see where we made mistakes and see where we can be better to try to have the same type of outcome. It is not going to be easy, because they are a tough team and they are going to come well-prepared next game, but we have to be ready and have our A-plan, too."
Zenit St Petersburg
"They came out flying around, playing good defense and being physical. They are a great team. Obviously, we expected that. We have to respond better in the next couple of games, but we got the win. Our team fought and that's good. When you get the first win on the road, it is all you can ask but it is a five-game series, so we have to keep going. We can't stop here, relax and be satisfied."