Panathinaikos end losing skid by snapping Zenit’s win streak
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens snapped its five-game losing streak with a 70-64 victory at home, coming back from a big early deficit thanks to an outstanding performance from Georgios Papagiannis. Zenit was riding a five-game winning streak and scored the first 12 points of the game. Panathinaikos put together an 18-2 run in the third quarter and extended the gap to 10 points in the fourth. Zenit pulled back ahead but Nemanja Nedovic hit a crucial three-pointer in the closing stages to give Panathinaikos the win and a 3-9 record. Nedovic finished with 18 points and Papagiannis totaled 18 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocks while Daryl Macon Jr. chipped in 11 points. Zenit was paced by Jordan Loyd with 15 points, Conner Frankamp scored 14 points and Mindaugas Kuzminskas tallied 13 points and 8 rebounds in the loss.
Jordan Mickey hit a three-pointer as he scored Zenit’s first 5 points and Loyd added a triple as well in a 0-12 start to the game. Panathinaikos missed its first 6 shots and had 3 turnovers before finally scoring on a Howard Sant-Roos three-pointer after 4:45 minutes. Nedovic provided a spark off the hosts’ bench with a four-point play to cut the gap to 11-16. He added 4 more points, but Loyd hit another three-pointer and Zenit was up 15-23 after 10 minutes.
Alex Poythress’s free throw started the second quarter for the guests and back-to-back dunks from Mateusz Ponitka and Poythress made it 19-28. Panathinaikos charged back with 3 straight three-pointers to even the game 28-28. Panathinaikos failed to score for the next 4 minutes while Kuzminskas added 6 points to get the lead to 28-38. Okaro White ended the surge with a three-pointer and added 2 free throws and Panathinaikos trailed 33-38 at the break.
Frankamp opened the second-half scoring, but then Zenit went cold and Papagiannis heated up, collecting three alley-oop dunks among 8 points and 3 blocks while Sant-Roos and Nedovic both buried three-pointers in an 18-2 run to put Panathinaikos ahead 51-42. Frankamp made sure that Zenit would have some momentum going into the fourth quarter with a three-pointer and the score was 53-48 after 30 minutes.
Papagiannis tallied 10 points in the third quarter and the first basket of the final frame and after Arturas Gudaitis scored for Zenit, Macon hit two straight baskets and Panathinaikos was up 60-50 with 7 minutes to play. Zenit managed to slow down the hosts and Frankamp hit a jumper and three-pointer and Loyd trimmed the deficit to 60-59. White snapped the rut with just 1 free throw and Kuzminskas followed with a three-pointer and Zenit was back ahead 61-62. Nedovic was not impressed and punched right back with a triple of his own and Panathinaikos reclaimed the lead 64-62 with 103 seconds to play. After a Zenit miss, Papagiannis put in an inbounds pass at the buzzer to make it 66-62 with 44 seconds left. Ioannis Papapetrou iced the game with free throws with 12.9 seconds left.
Nedovic has top showing of the season
Nemanja Nedovic came off the bench for Panathianikos OPAP Athens and provided the initial spark and ended up with his top showing of the season. After Zenit scored the first 12 points, Nedovic converted a four-point play. He finished with 4-of-7 shooting on three-pointers, including a dagger triple in the closing stages for 18 points. He also dished out a season-high 5 assists and had 6 fouls drawn. While Nedovic poured in 20 points in Round 2, his performance index rating of 21 against Zenit was the best of the season. Nedovic during the game also joined the 1,500-point club and now has totaled 1,510 points in his EuroLeague career.
Greens honor Pascual before the game
Panathinaikos honored Zenit head coach Xavi Pascual before the game and recognized him for his service as head of the bench for the Greens in parts of three seasons from 2016 to 2018. The Spanish coach received a plaque and a flower bouquet from Panathinaikos. Pascual had returned to Panathinaikos as Zenit’s coach last season but the Greek club wanted to have the ceremony this season with the fans in the stands in order for them to show him their gratitude as well.
Panathinaikos holds down Zenit shooters, makes more free throw
Panathinaikos did an excellent job holding down the Zenit shooters. The Russian side made just 6 of 27 three-pointers (22.2%) for the game. Zenit also converted just 6 of 10 free throws compared to 15 of 21 for Panathinaikos. The 64 points scored by Zenit were the second-fewest this season for the team, having only scored fewer against FC Barcelona in the 84-58 road loss in Round 5. It was also the fewest allowed by Panathinaikos this season.
Thursday, November 25, 2021