Zenit rallies to escape visiting Stasbourg in OT
In a thriller at the top of Group G, host Zenit St. Petersburg needed an extra session to outlast Strasbourg 87-82 in come-from-behind fashion on Tuesday. Zenit is now the group's exclusive leader with a 2-0 record, while Strasbourg dropped to 1-1. Walter Hodge capped a 6-0 final run in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime, while Kyle Landry scored 6 of the final 8 points for his side in the last minute of the extra period to seal the win. Hodge finished with 19 points, 9 assists and 6-for-6 free throw shooting to lead the winners. Artem Vikhorov and Landry added 15 points apiece and Andery Koscheev 13 for the home team. Louis Campbell posted a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds for Strasbourg. Matt Howard added 16 points and 8 assists, while Axel Toupane scored 13 and Ali Traore scored 12 in defeat.
Jeremy Leloup's free throws gave an early 4-13 advantage to Strasbourg, before a three-pointer from Hodge made it 12-15. The visitors soon answered with 7 consecutive points by Campbell and with 2 free throws from Toupane held a 23-27 advantage after 10 minutes. Landry forged a 29-29 tie and, after the guests went ahead again, Dalenta Stephens reeled them in with fastbreak layup to put Zenit ahead 36-34. The teams exchanged leads, with Koscheev giving a 44-42 cushion to the home team before 7 unanswered points of Strasbourg, 4 of them drilled by Howard, fixed the scoreboard at 44-49 for the French side at the half.
Back from the locker room, Traore kept the visitors out in front, 50-55, at the midway point of the third quarter. But an 11-3 Zenit run highlighted by a dunk from Stephens and capped by free throws from Koscheev sent the hosts in front 61-59 after 30 minutes. Hodge gave a 63-59 cushion to Zenit early in the fourth quarter, but neither team could take control. Toupane gave another slim 65-66 margin to Strasbourg, and soon the guests seemed to take the momentum again when Howard made it 67-73 with 3 minutes 40 seconds to play. After that, however, Strasbourg didn't score again in the fourth quarter while Hodge evened the game at 73-73 on free throws. When Campbell missed two potential game-winners, the teams went to overtime. In the extra session, the lead changed hands five times before Campbell scored a layup to put Strasbourg ahead 79-80 with 63 seconds left. Landry finished a perfect team play to put Zenit back in front with 38 seconds left. Then he and Koscheev went 6 for 6 from the foul line as Zenit took a thrilling victory to remain unbeaten in the Last 32.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015