Pauli shines, Gran Canaria downs Zenit
In an outstanding basketball game to get their 7DAYS EuroCup season started, Herbalife Gran Canaria downed Zenit St. Petersburg 97-87 at home in Group D on Wednesday. Gran Canaria trailed for the best part of the game but blasted off late in the third quarter to take the lead for good. Oriol Pauli paced the winners with 15 points. Eulis Baez and Pablo Aguilar each added 12 while Gal Mekel and Ondrej Balvin had 10 apiece for Gran Canaria, which outrebounded its opponent by 32-23. Kyle Kuric, who reached the 2015 EuroCup Finals with Gran Canaria, and Sergey Karasev led Zenit with 18 points apiece. Demonte Harper added 12 while Drew Gordon had 11 for Zenit, which led 51-52 at halftime and extended its advantage to 67-73 late in the third quarter. Pablo Aguilar sparked Gran Canaria's comeback, as the hosts took a 77-74 edge after 30 minutes and soon went up 89-78 to seal the outcome long before the final buzzer.
Early three-pointers by Marko Simonovic and Harper allowed Zenit to get a 7-10 lead. Anzejs Pasecniks and Baez tried to change things for Gran Canaria, but Karasev scored all the points in a 0-6 run that boosted the guests' lead to 12-18. Pauli followed an off-balance three-point play with a dunk but Karasev insisted from downtown and got plenty of help from Kuric and Ivan Lazarev to keep Zenit ahead, 24-30, after 10 minutes. Marcus Eriksson hit a triple and an unstoppable Pauli helped the hosts get within 31-32. Scottie Reynolds and Karasev sank back-to-back triples but Pauli and Aguilar stepped up to let the hosts tie the game 41-41. Kuric and Harper rescued Zenit, quickly making it a six-point game, 43-49. Baez took over with 5 unanswered points and Mekel brought Gran Canaria as close as 51-52 at halftime. A jumper by Albert Oliver gave Gran Canaria a 56-55 lead right after the break. Harper and Simonovic stepped up for Zenit, putting the guests back in charge, 62-63. Gordon scored again and Kuric nailed back-to-back catch-and-shoot triples to make it a six-point game, 67-73. Gran Canaria found a new go-to guy in Aguilar, who had six points in a 10-1 run that gave his team a 77-74 edge after 30 minutes. An alley-oop dunk by Pasecniks soon boosted the hosts' lead to 81-74. Xavi Rabaseda banked in a three-pointer and a jumper by Eriksson soon made it a double-digit game, 89-78, midway through the fourth quarter. Nicolas Laprovittola singlehandedly gave Zenit some hope, 91-84, but a dunk by Balvin and another basket by Eriksson sealed the outcome down the stretch.
In Round 2, Gran Canaria plays its first road game in this EuroCup season against Tofas Bursa, while Zenit welcomes Dolomiti Energia Trento.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017