It is already a critical game for both teams in their fight to reach the Top 16. Zenit has lost its last two games on the road and needs to bounce back immediately in front of its fans. Sergey Karasev (19.3 ppg.) is its top scorer thus far, followed by Jalen Reynolds (14.2 ppg.) and Philip Scrubb (12.7 ppg.). Partizan comes off an important win and looks for its first road triumph. Vanja Marinkovic (14.7 ppg.), Marcus Paige (13 ppg.) and Jock Landale (11.5 ppg., 7.3 rpg.) have been its main scoring pillars thus far.
Earlier this season
Partizan downed Zenit 89-82 in the Serbian capital in Round 2. Zenit led 75-78 midway through the fourth quarter, but Djodrje Gagic led a 10-0 run that sealed the outcome. Rade Zagorac had an all-around strong performance with 16 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals. Five other Partizan players scored in double digits.
Two of the best shooters in the competition are set to test their scoring skills. Marinkovic has been a bit off-target this season (44.2% 2FG, 32.3% 3FG) but is Partizan's top gun, with great clutch shooting ability and determination. Karasev has been shooting better (53.6% 2FG, 43.5% 3FG, 94.4% FT) and is more experienced. Anything can happen if one of them catches fire.
Keys to victory: Zenit
Karasev and Brandon Jennings did not play in Belgrade, so a whole different game is expected. Zenit has won both of its home games, averaging 98 points, but also allowing 86.5. Playing at a really high rhythm to make the most out of its many scorers in the biggest key. When Zenit plays up-tempo at home, good results usually follow.
Keys to victory: Partizan
Partizan must do what it did well in its win in Belgrade. Above all, it took excellent care of the ball with 23 assists and just 8 turnovers. Partizan is one of the best teams in terms of defensive rebounds (25 drpg.), but must power the offensive glass to prevent Zenit from running often. It must also use its size advantage in the paint by feeding Gagic and Landale down low.