Shedding its finest participant, Gustavo Ayon, to a hip damage didn’t forestall Zenit St Petersburg from beginning the second leg of the common season in profitable style. In a Russian derby, Zenit went on the street to carry off Khimki Moscow Area 81-83 for the fourth away win of its debut Turkish Airways EuroLeague season.
Zenit might need completed the primary half of the common season in final place at 4-13. But it surely additionally led the Euroleague in offensive rebounds, with 12.zero per recreation, and on this evening at Enviornment Mytishchi, offensive rebounds as soon as once more performed a giant half in Zenit’s success.
“Coach places plenty of strain on us for offensive rebounds”, Mateusz Ponitka instructed EuroLeague.TV after the sport. “We simply attempt to comply with his recommendation. We go and crash the boards. If we do not get the ball, we attempt to return actually quick, however in the present day we obtained plenty of them.”
Head coach Joan Plaza’s males obtained 13 offensive boards to enhance their season common, however extra importantly, 9 of these got here within the second half. Further possessions killed Khimki’s offensive rhythm, particularly within the third quarter, and second-chances helped Zenit open a 16-point margin initially of the fourth quarter. It proved to be too massive of a margin to beat despite the fact that Khimki discovered a strategy to rally again.
“It’s our focus this 12 months to be among the best defensive rebounding groups, and to be among the best offensive rebounding groups,” energy ahead Will Thomas mentioned at courtside after the victory.
Ponitka obtained Four offensive boards, completely aiding Thomas, who was unstoppable scoring 20 factors whereas making 7 of eight two-point pictures, his solely three-point try, and all three of his free throws. He additionally pulled down eight rebounds, together with 2 on offense, for a career-high PIR of 30.
Khimki obtained 30 factors from Alexey Shved, and 17 from Janis Timma, however it was not sufficient towards Zenit, which regardless of dropping its finest particular person performer, confirmed that its group strengths stay. Though it nonetheless occupies final place, Zenit will proceed to be a troublesome opponent the remainder of the season.