Jalen Reynolds may have ended up on the losing side, but the Zenit St. Petersburg big man still enjoyed a remarkable first night in the Top 16 on a personal level as his team suffered a narrow-as-possible 68-67 defeat to Russian rival UNICS Kazan.
Reynolds scored 17 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, easily beating the previous high for rebounds (14) in the current 7DAYS EuroCup campaign. Even more impressive, 16 of his boards came on the defensive end, which was the most by any player in the competition since 2004 when Priest Lauderdale did the same for Lukoil Academic. It was also the second-highest number of defensive rebounds in EuroCup history, only trailing the total of 20 reeled in by Lazaros Papadopoulos for Dynamo Moscow in December 2004.
Predictably, the 16 defensive boards and 17 total rebounds were also career highs for Reynolds, giving himself a late birthday present after turning 26 just three days ago. He has now bagged four double-doubles in 11 appearances this season and this latest one saw him become the new leading rebounder in the competition, stretching his average to 8.45 per game to overtake Mouhammad Faye of Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade (7.67 per game).
Perhaps most importantly, new Zenit coach Joan Plaza was left with no doubt about one thing as he plans for the remainder of the Top 16: if a defensive rebound is there to be taken, Jalen Reynolds can be counted upon to grab it.