| Spartak St. Petersburg routed Stelmet Zielona Gora 81-54 on Wednesday evening to march into the quarterfinals. Spartak improved to 3-1 in Last 16 Group K and 9-1 this season in securing a ticket to the next round, along with fellow Russian side Lokomotiv Kuban, which also advanced following Spartak’s victory. A second quarter capitulation from Stelmet – in which it scored just 7 points to Spartak’s 22 – had a large say in the outcome. Zach Wright led the way with 17 points for Spartak, including the final points of the night with a dunk. He also provided 8 assists. Vladamir Dragisevic added 14 points for the winners, Joshua Carter 13, Loukas Mavrokefalides 11 and Fedor Dmitriev 10. Dejan Borovnjak and Oliver Stevic led the visitors with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
The advantage went back-and-forth right from the moment Marcin Sroka scored the game's first basket, under 7 seconds in. Sroka would be Stelmet's most persistent scorer in the quarter, although his only other baskets would come from the free throw line. Having more success from open play was Spartak's Wright, whose dunks proved to be the main offensive weapon for the hosts in the first quarter. He threw down 8 points before the first buzzer -enough to put his team 18-17 ahead. Wright went outside in the second quarter and knocked down a three-pointer that took him into double digits with 11 points. A further two baskets inside by Wright capped off a run of 10 unanswered points for Spartak, while Stelmet experienced a barren spell that would not be terminated until almost seven minutes into the quarter. Rob Jones finally got Stelmet going with a free throw, but the road side was comprehensively outscored 22-7 in what would prove to be a pivotal quarter. The game went into halftime with Spartak in front, 40-24.
Stelmet needed a response in the third quarter after the previous disastrous 10 minutes, but outscoring a Spartak side in full flight was to prove a tough task. Borovnjak decided to take matters into his own hands for the road team, and was its only player to score more than one basket in the quarter; he sank 4 inside shots. He was matched, however, by Dragisevic and an impressive quarter from Carter, as the lead remained almost insurmountable. A final exclamation point was added to the period when Spartak’s Yaroslav Koralev and Nikita Kurbanov both sank late three-pointers to take the score to 65-42. With the job almost done, Carter and Dragisevic were benched during the final quarter and the reserves were given the job of maintaining the Spartak advantage. Up until the halfway mark, the teams were level for scoring. A flurry of points for Spartak newcomer Darius Johnson-Odom and a Wright dunk later, and the home side had outscored Stelmet again. It had done so in every quarter, and thus took an 81-54 win.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013