Zenit holds off Gran Canaria
Zenit St Petersburg remained undefeated at home in the EuroCup by holding off Herbalife Gran Canaria 90-85 on Tuesday at Yubileyny Sports Palace. The victory lifted Zenit to the top spot in Group D with a 4-2 record, while Gran Canaria slipped to 3-3. Sergey Karasev turned in a fine all-around performance with 21 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks to lead the winners. Scottie Reynolds got the hosts going with 10 first-quarter points before he too netted 21 points and dished 6 assists. Drew Gordon recorded 17 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists, Kyle Kuric scored 12 against his former team and Marko Simonovic added 10 for the winners. Shaquielle McKissic paced the visitors with 16 points, Anzejs Pasecniks and Ondrej Balvin scored 12 each, Eulis Baez had 11 and D.J. Seeley 10. Balvin also collected 9 rebounds.
Gran Canaria was hot early to lead 2-7, but Zenit soon regrouped and lead 14-11 after back-to-back three-pointers by Reynolds. Ivan Lazarev scored on both sides of a Gran Canaria timeout to make it 20-13. Kuric’s first points came on a layup that gave the hosts a double-digit lead, 25-15, after 10 minutes. The Gran Canaria second unit, led by Balvin, Xavi Rabaseda and Seeley, cut into the deficit, but Kuric kept the hosts comfortably ahead. Baez powered the visitors to within 4 – twice – and the half ended with Zenit leading 46-42.
A McKissic layup to start the second half made it a 2-point game, but Zenit got the next 8 points – 6 through Gordon – to regain a 10-point edge. Reynolds extended the lead to 13, but Gran Canaria refused to fold; Seeley started and ended a 0-11 response to make it 63-61. A Karasev put-back ended the third quarter at 65-61. Rabaseda lifted an alley-oop pass to Pasecniks that the latter finished for a slam to tie the game at
65-65 in the first minute of the fourth quarter. Reynolds, Karasev and Gordon stepped up with all the Zenit points and assists in an 8-2 spurt that got the home crowd rocking. Bit Gran Canaria responded with a Gal Mekel three-pointer and 3 Pasecniks free throws to even the score at 73-73 with six minutes to play. A three by Reynolds and slam by Gordon after a pick-and-roll with Kuric put Zenit back in control. Simonovic free throws boosted the margin to 82-74 with three minutes to go. Baez connected from downtown to make it a 3-point game, however free throws by Evgeny Valiev and Kuric all but put a Zenit victory on ice.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017