VTB United League
Khimki Moscow Region defeated Zenit St. Petersburg at home, 90-84. The game was a rollercoaster from start to finish. Trailing big in the first half, Zenit stormed back, cutting a 25-point deficit to one. But the visitors ran out of steam in the final minutes as Khimki held on for a crucial win.
The first meeting between these two teams ended in a blowout, as Khimki cruised 103-72 in St. Petersburg. On Monday, Zenit traveled to Khimki, determined to exact revenge on the road.
The visitors got off to a slow start. Khimki dominated in the opening period, securing a 34-17 lead at the end of 10 minutes. Tyrese Rice and Alexey Shved continued to terrorize Zenit's defense in the second period, giving the home team a commanding 25-point lead, 58-33, at halftime.
During the break, Vasily Karasev found the right words to say. Zenit played like a team possessed in the 3rd quarter, outscoring Khimki, 32-13, to cut the deficit to six. St. Petersburg didn't stop there. Led by Ryan Toolson, the visitors pulled within a point multiple times in the 4th quarter.
But Zenit couldn't quite get over the hump. Shved and Rice hit big shots down the stretch, while James Augustine did a great job at both ends of the floor. Leading by three with 30 seconds to play, Rice drained two huge free throws to help Khimki escape with the win and improve to 18-8.
James Augustine. Khimki's big man led the team with 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks, while playing lockdown defense in the paint. Reliable down the stretch, Augustine helped Moscow Region secure a very important win.
Stat of the Game
25 — Khimki's biggest lead, which dwindled to one point several times in the 4th quarter.