By Stefan Djordjevic / firstname.lastname@example.org
It was a tie at 60 with six minutes left when Kevin Pangos stepped up with an assist to Alex Poythress as well as two two-pointers and a steal followed by a three-pointer to put Zenit up 71-62.
Kevin Punter made a four-point play to keep Milano‘s hopes alive, however, they couldn’t recover in the remaining three minutes. Pangos also made the dagger three-pointer for 76-66.
“I’m satisfied. That’s obviously a great team that we played, very talented, they play hard and for us to get that win at home was huge for us. I think everybody in the locker room is very happy right now. Our defense [was critical in the fourth quarter]. I think we played really aggressive. We got the rebounds, we flew around, everyone helped each other. In order to win a game like that, you’ve gotta seal it at the end and that’s what we did,” the hero of the night said after the win.
Pangos finished with 16 points, ten assists, four rebounds, and three steals. Arturas Gudaitis scored 16 as well while Billy Baron added 13 and Poythress ten points.
For Milano, Kevin Punter scored 16 in addition to Shavon Shields’ 15 and Sergio Rodriguez’s ten points. Kyle Hines flirted with a double-double with nine points and ten boards.
Zenit improved to 15-9 while Olimpia now holds a 16-9 record. The sides also fought until the very last second for the potential tiebreaker advantage and it belonged to Zenit by three points. The first duel was won by Milano 82-76.
Coach Xavi Pascual is happy for the win and the way his team played, especially compared to the previous duel (vs. Crvena Zvezda) but they have yet to reach their goals.
“Step-by-step we played better on offense and from offense we improved our defense also and in the last quarter we played with great personality that in the previous game against Crvena Zvezda, we didn’t show this personality. But today in the last quarter we worked very well and we are very happy to bring this win to all the supporters who were with us today. We are very happy with what we’ve done until now, but we have to continue game by game,” he said.