Zenit grabs first EuroLeague home win ever!
Zenit St Petersburg snapped a six-game losing streak and captured its first-ever Turkish Airlines EuroLeague home victory with a 75-70 decision over LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne on Friday. Alex Renfroe collected 16 points and 8 assists as Zenit notched its first victory since October 30 to improve to 3-9. Gustavo Ayon added 14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in 18 minutes and Mateusz Ponitka chipped in 11 points and 5 rebounds in the triumph. ASVEL dropped its fourth straight game to fall to 5-7 as no player scored in double figures for the visitors. Theo Maledon led the French side with 9 points and 5 assists. Five of his ASVEL teammates scored 8 points.
After ASVEL opened the game with a 0-5 lead, Zenit used the long ball to put together its first big push with Renfroe, Anton Ponkrashov and Pontika all hitting from outside in a 13-2 run to pull ahead 13-7. Colton Iverson extended the gap to 17-9 but Zenit failed to score the final 2:54 minutes of the first quarter and led just 17-15 after 10 minutes. Ismael Bako knotted the game 17-17 to start the second quarter with Ayon tallying the next 4 points at the other end for a 21-17 Zenit advantage. Andrew Albicy and Vladislav Trushkin both knocked down triples to keep the hosts ahead 27-24. Zenit's offense stalled for nearly 4 minutes while Edwin Jackson scored 6 points in a 0-12 run as ASVEL went up 27-36. Ayon was able to score the final 3 points of the second quarter to send the hosts into the break down just 30-36. Zenit started the second half with Ponitka throwing down a big dunk to pull within 36-38. The surge continued with Renfroe, Austin Hollins and Ponitka all hitting from long range and Ayon picking up a pair of baskets in a 16-3 run for a 52-43 lead. After a timeout, Bako stopped the drought and Livio Jean-Charles scored twice for ASVEL to trim the gap to 53-49 after 30 minutes. Maledon sparked ASVEL's comeback to start the fourth quarter, with 2 three-pointers and an assist on Rihards Lomasz's triple to pull the guests in front by 57-58. Tim Abromaitis came off the Zenit bench and nailed back-to-back three-pointers to push the hosts ahead 63-60. A Maledon three-point play gave ASVEL the lead back 64-65 only to see Renfroe hit 2 free throws and a floater in opening a 72-67 advantage. Renfroe added 2 more free throws for a 74-68 lead with 17 seconds left and that was enough to finish off the historic win.
Zenit struggled to take care of the ball in the first half with 7 turnovers but turned it over just 4 times in the final 20 minutes.
Keeping Jekiri in check
One of ASVEL's main weapons this season has been big man Tonye Jekiri, who came into the game averaging 10.8 points and 9.4 rebounds. But Zenit did not allow him to get going, finishing with just 8 points and 4 rebounds and a performance index rating of 4.
Despite hitting just 11-of-20 free throws (55.0 percent), Zenit nailed 10-of-20 three-pointers (50.0 percent) and held ASVEL to just 23.8 percent from long range.
Zenit will look to keep it rolling as it travels to southern Germany to take on FC Bayern Munich on December 13. ASVEL now takes its four-game losing streak back home to face AX Armani Exchange Milan on December 13.
Friday, December 6, 2019