Toolson, Timma make Zenit lock first place
Zenit St. Petersburg took clinched first place in Group E by downing Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius 92-84 at home on Wednesday. Zenit improved to 8-1 and mathematically locked first place in Group E while Rytas dropped to 3-6. Ryan Toolson led the winners with 22 points. Janis Timma added 17 while Kyle Landry had 13 and 12 rebounds for Zenit. Ksistof Lavrinovic led Rytas with 16 points. Marius Runkauskas got 14, Gediminas Orelik added 13 while Antanas Kavaliauskas had 11 for the guests, which used a 0-7 run to tie the game, 21-21, late in the first quarter. Zenit regained a 27-25 edge after 10 minutes but Lavrinovic, Runkauskas and Deividas Gailius helped Rytas get a 39-44 margin at halftime. A three-pointer by Runkauskas made it a double-digit game, 43-53, soon after the break, and Lavrinovic kept the guests ahead, 61-67, after 30 minutes. Toolson stepped up for Zenit and hit a three-pointer that put Zenit ahead for good, 75-74. Timma shined in crunch time, leading Zenit to yet another win.
Toolson got Zenit going with a three-pointer but Orelik and Deividas Gailius soon gave Rytas a 3-5 lead. Anton Pushkov had 4 points in a 6-0 Zenit run but Gailius kept the guests within 9-7. Toolson kept pacing Zenit with another basket. He got help from Artem Vikhrov and Landry, and a layup by Evgeny Valiev made Rytas stop the game at 19-12. Runkaukas and Valiev exchanged baskets but Kavaliauskas and Rokas Giedriatis fueled a 0-7 run which tied the game, 21-21. Aleksandr Karpukhin rescued Zenit with consecutive bombs from downtown but Zygimantas Janavicius singlehandedly kept Rytas within 27-25 after 10 minutes. Lavrinovic tied the game again, 29-29, early in the second quarter. Zenit struggled to score for more than 2 minutes until Toolson rescued the hosts with a jumper. Giedriatis scored again and free throw by Lavrinovic put Rytas back ahead, 29-30. Toolson kept pacing Zenit and back-to-back baskets by Gailius made Rytas regain the lead, 31-34. Andrey Koshcheev and Lavrinovic traded baskets and a three-pointer by Adas Juskevicius boosted the guests' margin to 33-39. Landry and Timma tried to change things for Zenit but Orelik and Runkauskas kept Rytas ahead, 39-44, at halftime.
Back-to-back baskets by Orelik gave Rytas a 39-48 margin right after the break. Zabian Dowdell and Timma stepped up for Zenit but a layup by Kavaliauskas and a three-pointer by Runkauskas made it a double-digit game, 43-53. Toolson hit another shot and Landry gave Zenit hope at 47-53. Kavaliauskas scored again but Dowdell did better with a three-pointer and Timma forced Rytas to call timeout at 52-55. Nico Laprovittola found his first points, Dmitriy Golovin hit free throws and a three-pointer by Lavrinovic gave Rytas fresh air at 53-60. Koshcheev shined with a three-point play, Lavrinovic answered with consecutive layups but Landry kept Zenit within 59-65. Juskevicius and Toolson exchanged driving layups to fix the score at 61-67 after 30 minutes. Koshcheev scored again early in the fourth quarter and a triple by Timma brought Zenit as close as 66-67. Giedraitis scored down low and Kavaliauskas added a three-point play but Vikrov kept the hosts within 70-72. Toolson took over with an acrobatic layup and bettered Laprovittola's jumper with a big triple, good for a 75-74 Zenit edge with over 6 minutes left. Timma followed a put-back basket with a put-back slam, as Rytas went scoreless for 3 critical minutes. Landry scored in the paint, Lavrinovic answered with a layup and free throws by Timma sealed the outcome, 83-76, as Rytas never recovered.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015