Khimki Moscow Region prevailed in an exciting clash by claiming an 83-88 come-from-behind victory at Zenit St Petersburg.
The first half was fast-moving and high-scoring as Zenit established several solid leads through excellent shooting, but Khimki kept fighting back to stay in contention. The second half was closely contested and the visiting team finished stronger to take the win. Alexey Shved led Khimki’s scoring with 24 points, followed by Errick McCollom with 19. Greg Monroe came close to a double-double with 11 points and 9 rebounds for the winning team. Billy Baron paced the host with 24 points on 6-of-10 three-point shooting. Arturas Gudaitis had 10 points and 9 rebounds, Austin Hollins scored 15, and Kevin Pangos dished 10 assists. The victory improved Khimki to 2-6, while Zenit dropped to 3-2.
Zenit went inside to open the scoring with Gudaitis before adding a fastbreak three-point play from Pangos. Shved got Khimki moving from deep, but the hosts had more joy inside as Hollins, Mateusz Ponitka and Gudaitis made it 10-5. Hollins swished a couple of three-pointers to keep Zenit ahead despite deep strikes from Sergey Karasev and Sergey Monia plus a pair of baskets in penetration from Shved. The red-hot Gudaitis added two more scores inside. Hollins took the baseline for a layup and KC Rivers struck from deep, making it 27-19 at the end of the first quarter. Five points from Shved narrowed the gap, but a four-point play from Baron kept Zenit ahead. Gudaitis added a basket-and-foul, Andrey Zubkov made a couple of tough scores and Hollins struck from deep for a double-digit lead, 45-34, after a 12-3 run. McCollom scored inside to reignite Khimki, and Jordan Mickey and Janis Timma added threes before McCollom netted again to complete a 0-10 run. But Zenit had the last word of the first half through Ponitka, making it 47-44 at the break.
Monroe and Hollins traded two-pointers early in the third, before McCollom’s jumper with a foul made it 50-49 and Timma gave Khimki its first lead from deep. Shved netted a long three, but Rivers and Ponitka restored Zenit’s lead. An off-balance basket from Mickey tied it up again, 57-57. Baron struck twice in a row from deep for the home team, before Baron and Dairis Bertans traded three-point blows and Shved sliced through to beat the buzzer and make it 67-63 after three quarters. Rivers floated home the first score of the fourth quarter, but McCollom responded from distance. Baron netted another triple, this time with a foul, to make it 75-68. Shved and McCollom hit back, only for Baron to strike his sixth three-pointer. Monia’s three was followed by Monroe’s strong finish inside and it was 78-77 with 4 minutes left. Alex Poythress kept Zenit ahead, but Monroe’s inside strike and Shved’s long-range dagger made it 81-82. McCollom made 5 straight free throws in the last minute to secure the win.
Rebounding not enough for hosts
Zenit enjoyed a huge advantage in the battle of the boards, claiming 38 rebounds compared to just 24 for Khimki. But the home team committed 13 turnovers against Khimki’s 8, and the visitors were also more accurate by shooting 17 of 26 on two-pointers (65.4%) and 13 of 30 on triples (43.3%).
100% road record
After both teams were triumphant on the road last season, Khimki’s victory made it three road wins out of three all-time in the EuroLeague in this matchup.
Milestone night for Pangos
Despite ending on the losing side, Zenit point guard Kevin Pangos had a milestone evening as he tied two club records with 10 assists and 4 steals. It was the first time he reached 10 assists in a game since March 2018, when he still played for Zalgiris Kaunas.
Khimki returns home to welcome Anadolu Efes Istanbul on Thursday evening, while Zenit travels to take on ALBA Berlin the following night.