2019-20Regular SeasonRound 5
October 30, 2019 CET: 19:00
Local time: 20:00 ZALGIRIO ARENA

Ponitka lifts Zenit to OT win in Kaunas

Mateusz Ponitka scored 9 of his team-high 19 points in overtime to lift Zenit St. Petersburg to a tough 70-82 road win over Zalgiris Kaunas on Wednesday night. The hosts seemed to have all the momentum after Lukas Lekavicius made 3 free throws with 2.4 seconds left in regulation to save Zalgiris from what appeared to be certain defeat but in the extra session, a fresh-legged Ponitka rose to the occasion as the visitors romped to victory. The result left both teams with 2-3 records. Ponitka also collected 7 rebounds for the winners. Gustavo Ayon tallied 11 points, 5 assists and 4 steals, Colton Iverson posted 10 points and 4 blocks and Austin Hollins also scored 10 for Zenit. Edgaras Ulanovas and Zach LeDay scored 12 apiece to lead Zalgiris and Marius Grigonis and Nigel Hayes had 10 each.

Ulanovas started out strong for the hosts before a pair of steals and scores by Ayon on either side of a Zalgiris timeout lifted Zenit to a 7-9 edge. Hayes scored 4 points in a 6-0 run to finish the first quarter that gave the hosts an 18-14 lead after 10 minutes. Paulius Jankunas was called for an unsportsmanlike foul on Tim Abromaitis and Anton Ponkrashov capitalized with a jumper to boost Zenit to an 18-19 edge. A four-point play by Alex Renfroe stretched the Zenit advantage to 22-27. Zalgiris came back to tie it at 28-28 on a free throw by LeDay and that is how the half ended. The hosts jumped in front to start the second half, however, Zenit came right back to even things at 35-35. Back and forth they went until Iverson scored twice in the final minute of the third quarter to put Zenit ahead 43-44. Jock Landale knocked down a triple that tied it again early in the fourth quarter. Ponitka answered from downtown to ignite a 0-8 Zenit run, which prompted a Zalgiris timeout at 46-54 with 4 and a half minutes remaining. LeDay answered the call for Zalgiris with an offensive rebound and three-point play and Grigonis drained a triple to narrow the gap to 4. Arturas Milaknis drained a second-chance three with 56 seconds on the clock that made it a 1-point game. However, Ponitka converted a three-point play at the other end. Zalgiris received a boost of hope when Renfore split free throws, but Milaknis’s turnover seemed to seal the outcome. However, Thomas Walkup tied up Andrew Albicy and then won the resulting jump ball and Lekavicius was fouled trying to shoot from three-quarters court. He made the resulting 3 free throws with 2.4 seconds left to tie it at 62-62 and force overtime. Ponitka started the extra session with a triple and soon added a basket-plus-foul. Zalgiris had no answer for Ponitka, whose tip-in made it 64-71. Zalgiris seemed to have run out of gas and Hollins's steal and slam capped an impressive road win for Zenit.

Decisive play

It was only decisive in forcing overtime, but it deserves to be recognized nonetheless. Thomas Walkup came up big in tieing up Zenit Andrew Albicy in the dying seconds to force a jump-ball, which he won. Lukas Lekavicius grabbed the tip and launched a heave into Alex Renfroe. The resulting foul call allowed Lekavicius - who kept his cool in a game-on-the-line situation, to tie and force overtime.

Telling stats

Zenit controlled the paint at both ends. Led by Colton Iverson's 4, Zenit rejected 8 shots and held the home side to 14-of-37 shooting (37.8%) on two-pointers. Both teams collected a whopping 18 offensive rebounds, but neither cashed in at a high rate with Zalgiris scoring 14 second-chance points and Zenit 9.

Minor milestones

Arturas Milaknis climbed another step on his road to becoming one of the great three-point marksmen in EuroLeague history with his 238th triple, which took him past former Zalgiris scorer Marcus Brown for sole possession of 13th place on the all-time list. Trajan Langdon is 12th with 339 triples for his career. Gustavo Ayon’s 4 steals gave him third place among centers in EuroLeague history with 172. Kaya Peker is second with 174. Ayon is 41st among all players.

What’s next?

The two teams have less than 48 hours before they hit the hardwood again on Friday. Zenit returns home to take on reigning champion CSKA Moscow, while Zalgiris heads to Istanbul for a showdown with Fenerbahce Beko.

Mateusz Ponitka - Zenit St Petersburg - EB19
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Euroleague.net
Referees: PEREZ, MIGUEL ANGEL; PATERNICO, CARMELO; TRAWICKI, TOMASZ
Attendance: 13189
By Quarter1234Extra 1
Zalgiris Kaunas181015198
Zenit St Petersburg1414161820
End of Quarter1234Extra 1
Zalgiris Kaunas1828436270
Zenit St Petersburg1428446282
Zalgiris Kaunas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 WALKUP, THOMAS 33:13 6 3/7 0/1   2 3 5 7 2 6   3 3 1 4
2 PEREZ, ALEX 6:30   0/1     1   1           1   -1
4 LEKAVICIUS, LUKAS 15:18 6 0/3 1/4 3/3 1 3 4 1   2     2 1 2
10 HAYES, NIGEL 34:48 10 2/4 0/4 6/6 2 4 6 1 1       2 4 14
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS 10:12   0/1 0/2     1 1     1     2 1 -4
16 LUKOSIUNAS, KAROLIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 MILAKNIS, ARTURAS 26:02 5   1/3 2/2   1 1 1 1 2       2 6
23 GEBEN, MARTINAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
32 LEDAY, ZACH 29:00 12 4/9   4/5 6 4 10       2 2 2 6 20
34 LANDALE, JOCK 16:00 9 3/4 1/4   1 3 4     2 1   4   4
40 GRIGONIS, MARIUS 23:15 10 0/2 3/5 1/1   1 1 1       1 5 2 4
92 ULANOVAS, EDGARAS 30:42 12 2/6 1/4 5/5 3 2 5 2   2   2 5 4 7
Team           1 3 4     3         1
Totals 225:00 70 14/37 7/27 21/22 17 25 42 13 4 18 3 8 26 21 57
        37.8% 25.9% 95.5%
Head coach: JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS
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
4 IVERSON, COLTON 20:31 10 4/6   2/3 2 4 6 1 1 2 4 1 2 2 16
6 ALBICY, ANDREW 32:00 1 0/3 0/4 1/2       1 1 1   1 1 2 -6
7 PONKRASHOV, ANTON 18:04 7 2/5 1/4     4 4 1   1     1   4
9 HOLLINS, AUSTIN 23:31 10 1/3 1/3 5/5 3 2 5 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 12
10 THOMAS, WILL 30:48 8 3/3 0/3 2/2 1 3 4 2 2   1     4 18
12 RENFROE, ALEX 16:12 5 0/2 1/2 2/3   2 2 3         4 4 6
13 KHVOSTOV, DMITRY 7:03 2 1/2                         1
14 PUSHKOV, ANTON 3:44                   2     1   -3
16 TRUSHKIN, VLADISLAV 13:20 3   1/4           1 1     1   -1
21 ABROMAITIS, TIM 10:28 6 0/1 1/2 3/4 2 1 3 1 1       3 4 9
25 PONITKA, MATEUSZ 24:55 19 4/5 2/3 5/6 4 3 7 1     1   3 5 27
34 AYON, GUSTAVO 24:24 11 5/11   1/2 2 3 5 5 4 3 1   4 3 15
Team           2 1 3     3          
Totals 225:00 82 20/41 7/25 21/27 16 23 39 16 11 14 8 3 22 26 98
        48.8% 28% 77.8%
Head coach: PLAZA, JOAN

Head Coaches

JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS
Zalgiris Kaunas
"Congratulations to Zenit. I think the better team deserved to win. The team that was more physical, the team that what was going on so far in the season, always reacts to the extreme and tough situations really well and comes back with big wins. I don't know if winning in Zalgirio Arena is a big win, but they always managed to come back and win the game, and we tried to match this ability and we couldn't."
PLAZA, JOAN
Zenit St Petersburg
"It's the players [who won it in overtime]. There are no tactical solutions. They have pride and they have character and they will win the games, especially if they deserve it. Because it was a lucky situation when you have happen what we did. I think that we deserve it. They played a great overtime, but even the rest of the time they played pretty well. The competitiveness is one of the things that we are not consistent at all. But with this competitiveness, sometimes you are going to lose, but most of the time you are going to win. All the merit goes to the players. I think that in the end we had the same energy as them but we really believed that we were capable and we talked about it in a timeout before the last period about whether we deserved it or not. If you deserve it, go for the game. You have to go for it until the end. You can lose or you can win. This is our profile."

Players

LANDALE, JOCK
Zalgiris Kaunas
"This is the second team in a row that has come in here and beat us up physically. That is not what we’re about. We cannot keep letting teams do that because it takes us out of our stuff. So we have to get a lot more physical and understand the scale. That was somewhere we messed up. We had a game plan coming in and we didn't really follow it. Once we got to overtime, we should have put that thing away, but they got offensive rebounds, back cuts, I think they must have had 4 offensive rebounds at that point. It doesn't matter if they are bigger than you or faster than you, you have to get them out of there and grab the ball. That's the easy stuff. All it takes is effort. It’s easier said than done, but that's something we have to do a lot better next game."
PONITKA, MATEUSZ
Zenit St Petersburg
"In my opinion, mental toughness [got us the win]. We showed that we have character. It is the second time we are going to overtime and in overtime, we played tough good team basketball. Definitely, the second half was much better for us. We were fighting on defense and we played pretty smart on offense. We didn't make stupid turnovers in the second half and that brought us to a close game, even possible to win in 40 minutes, but okay, they scored 3 free throws in a row and we sealed the deal in overtime. It was a good game for us. I didn't play in the first half, I made 2 bad fouls, I made two mistakes. I was fresh in the second half, so maybe it's a good tactic if we are winning. Winning is what's most important in the EuroLeague. "
THOMAS, WILL
Zenit St Petersburg
"Defensive rebounding, playing great defense and executing on offense [were the keys]. We are a new team. We are just trying to come together. we haven't been together that long. we are learning each other and trying to get better every day."