Real leaves St Petersburg with its first road win
Real Madrid grabbed its first road win of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season by edging Zenit St Petersburg 68-75 at Yubileyny Sports Palace on Wednesday. Real improved to 5-1 in the standings while Zenit dropped to 3-3. Thomas Huertel led the winners with 15 points. Walter Tavares added 14, Fabien Causeur 13 and Guerschon Yabusele 11 for Real. Billy Baron paced Zenit with 14 points, Jordan Loyd added 11 and Mateusz Ponitka 10. Heurtel stepped up for Real early, getting help from Tavares to give the visitors a 13-22 lead after 10 minutes. Zenit found a go-to guy in Baron, who struck three times from downtown in the second quarter. Andrey Zubkov and Loyd helped the hosts grab a 40-39 edge at halftime. Real found a go-to guy in Yabusele, who dunked twice and added a three-pointer in a 0-9 run that gave Real a 57-59 advantage after 30 minutes. Causeur and Vincent Poirier soon boosted the margin to 61-69 midway through the fourth quarter and Zenit never recovered.
Causeur and Jordan Mickey traded corner triples to get their teams going. Conner Frankamp hit a floater and Loyd added a jumper, but Adam Hanga and a red-hot Heurtel gave Real a 7-10 lead. Arturas Gudaitis stepped up with a backdoor layup that Tavares matched with a floater. Heurtel hit another jumper and got help from Tavares and Causeur to boost the margin to 11-18. Mickey hit a jump hook, but Guerschon Yabusele fed Tavares for a dunk and added a power layup for a 13-22 Real lead after 10 minutes.
Zubkov, Carlos Alocen and Baron each struck from beyond the arc early in the second quarter. After Alocen hit a jumper off the dribble, the rain of three-pointers continued: Baron and Alberto Abalde hit 2 each and Zubkov buried another one for a 28-33 score. Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Alex Poythress each scored down low to bring Zenit within 32-33. Mateusz Ponitka found his first points, but Poirier and Heurtel kept the visitors in charge, 34-37. Loyd took over with a driving layup and Gudaitis added a put-back basket to complete Zenit's comeback, 38-37. Loyd and Heurtel exchanged floaters to fix the halftime score at 40-39.
Ponitka sank a three-pointer soon after the break and Gudaitis gave the hosts a 45-41 lead. Tavares took over with a dunk-and-foul that Loyd erased with a bomb from downtown. Tavares picked up his fourth foul, but Yabusele followed a dunk with a triple to give Real a 50-53 edge. Yabusele dunked again to cap a 0-9 run, as Poythress stepped up with a jumper. Ponitka sank another one from beyond the arc, but Heurtel gave Los Blancos a 55-57 lead. After Yabusele hit free throws, Poythress answered with a layup to make it 57-59 after 30 minutes.
Causeur scored in penetration early in the fourth quarter and bettered Baron's layup with a three-pointer that gave his team a 59-64 lead. Poirier dunked and a red-hot Causeur improved Loyd's layup with another bomb from beyond the arc. Abalde soon added an electric driving layup that made it a double-digit game, 61-71. Mickey and Ponitka tried to change things for Zenit and Baron buried his fourth three-pointer, bringing Zenit within 68-74 with 37.3 seconds left. Baron's next shot went in and out and a critical steal by Rudy Fernandez sealed the outcome.
Yabusele rescues Real in spectacular fashion!
Things did not look good for Real Madrid in its Round 6 game against Zenit St Petersburg at Yubileyny Sports Palace. Zenit led 50-46 midway through the third quarter and star center Walter Tavares had to head to the bench after picking up his fourth foul. Los Blancos needed a go-to guy and found him in power forward Guerschon Yabusele, who rescued his team with a couple of fastbreak dunks and a bomb from downtown. He had 7 points in a 0-9 run that put Real ahead, 50-55. The Spanish powerhouse never trailed after that. Yabusele finished the game with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a PIR of 15.
Fernandez held scoreless, plays huge role
In basketball, you don't need to score a lot of points to play a decisive role in your team’s victory. Sometimes you don't even need to score at all, as Rudy Fernandez proved in Real Madrid's road victory against Zenit St Petersburg. Fernandez played less than 19 minutes and missed his only 2 shots - both from behind the arc, but contributed in many other aspects of the game. He finished the game with 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, 1 block and a foul drawn for a PIR of 10. Fernandez helped Real seal the outcome with a critical steal in the final minute, too, rounding out an excellent game.
Real remains undefeated against Zenit
Another game against Zenit St Petersburg, another win for Real Madrid. By downing Zenit 68-75, Real remained undefeated against the Russian powerhouse in four games. In both teams' first-ever showdown on November 29, 2019, Real topped Zenit 71-86 behind 19 points from Facu Campazzo and 15 from Gabriel Deck. Real went on to defeat Zenit twice last season, first in the Spanish capital, 79-72, with 16 points from Alberto Abalde, and then in St Petersburg, 71-75, as Walter Tavares led the way with 16 points and 9 rebounds. Zenit gets another chance against Real this season at WiZink Center on February 4, 2022.
Sunday, October 17, 2021