VTB United League
Zenit St. Petersburg defeated Khimki Moscow Region on the road, 76-66 (25-19, 16-13, 19-16, 16-18).
Khimki: Alexey Shved (34), James Anderson (8 + 6 reb), Malcolm Thomas (7 + 9 reb)
Zenit: Kyle Kuric (17), Sergey Karasev (12 + 6 reb + 6 ast), Evgeny Valiev (10), Drew Gordon (10 + 8 reb)
Zenit sent Khimki to a 3rd-consecutive loss on Sunday, overcoming a 34-point outburst from Alexey Shved to win at a sold-out BCMO. Kyle Kuric led the visitors with 17 points, including a dagger 3-pointer in the final minutes that pushed Zenit’s lead to double digits. With the victory, St. Petersburg moves into a tie for 3rd place with Lokomotiv-Kuban, while Khimki drops to 5th.
Leading by six late in the 1st quarter, Khimki surrendered a 23-2 run that completely changed the complexion of the game. The visitors never trailed again, taking a nine-point lead into halftime and a 12-point edge entering the 4th quarter.
The home team kept it interesting down the stretch. Alexey Shved scored 11 points early in the 4th to cut the deficit to four, 66-62. He even had a chance to cut it to one, but couldn’t connect from deep.
On the next possession, Malcolm Thomas was whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul on Evgeny Valiev, who drained both free throws to push the lead back to six.
With the clock ticking down, Khimki simply couldn’t get a shot to drop. Kuric made it a 10-point game with a triple and the visitors led by as much as 13 in the final minute.
Down the stretch, Moscow Region went more than six minutes without a field goal to lose by double digits. Counting EuroLeague play, Georgios Bartzokas’s club has lost three in a row. Zenit, on the other hand, improves to 5-1 and has won five in a row in the League.
34 – Shved scored more than 50% of Khimki’s points, including a 6-12 performance from beyond the arc. The rest of the team was a combined 1-14 on the perimeter.
Khimki head coach Georgios Bartzokas:
– Congratulations to Zenit on a deserving win. They played more systematically for the entire 40 minutes. We had a chance to win, but our two-point, three-point and free-throw shooting really let us down. We had a really low number for our team. We missed Robinson, Gill and Honeycutt today. We played two very difficult games this week in the EuroLeague, including a tough trip to Greece. Obviously, we were low on energy. But that happens to every EuroLeague team, especially after two games in a week, which is why today’s game was especially tough. We need to recover from our injuries and see when our injured players can rejoin us. We need to work together, because the only way to get back on the winning track is to work, both individually and as a team. Perhaps we’ve lost confidence in our abilities, which we had at the start of the season. We need to feel that again, as soon as possible. To do so we need to be united and win.
Zenit head coach Vasily Karasev:
– This was a much-needed, very important and difficult win. It’s probably twice as big for us because there’s a break coming up and the guys will leave for the national team in a good mood. Others can recover from injuries. Some will continue to practice. As for the game: We scouted well, the guys played smart on defense and offense, and that delivered a result.
Khimki: December 3 away vs. UNICS
Zenit: December 1 home vs. Enisey