By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Zenit St. Petersburg snapped back from a two-game losing streak and defeated Khimki in Moscow 83-81, for Round 18 of Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.
Will Thomas and Austin Hollins paced Zenit’s effort with 20 and 15 points each, while Mateusz Ponitka was decisive in the fourth period and exited the game with 12 points, eight rebounds.
Alexey Shved posted a game-high performance of 30 points, six assists and five rebounds for Khimki (now 8-10), though he wasn’t able to carry the team to the victory despite his efforts in the fourth period.
Zenit keeps Khimki’s comeback at bay
Khimki was in control of the game for most of the first half, though up until the halftime mark the two teams were fairly balanced (Khimki led 37-36 at halftime). The third period was the key for Zenit to start rolling, as they built a double-digit lead for the first time of the game, leading 61-48 after 30′.
The hosts reacted at the start of the fourth, trimming the deficit to 69-64 with five minutes to go. Ponitka stepped up big time for the visiting side, giving them a six-point advantage with less than two minutes remaining in the game (78-72). Even though Shved kept Khimki alive in the game with big-time shots, Anton Ponkrashov sealed the deal for Zenit.
Zenit is back on the winning track (5-13 record) and Joan Plaza talked about the importance of the victory after the game.
“We have been working for several weeks to deserve victories like this. For the guys, and the job they are doing at practices, this is a great challenge to continue the same way. […] In this second part of the season we need to be more solid on our home court,” he mentioned.