2020-21Regular SeasonRound 20
January 15, 2021 CET: 18:00
Local time: 20:00 SIBUR ARENA

Zenit stays strong to down Zalgiris

Zenit St Petersburg held firm to take a 77-65 victory over Zalgiris Kaunas in a closely contested showdown on Friday night. There was nothing between the teams in a first half that ended 36-36 after 13 ties, but Zenit took charge during the second half to gradually establish a solid lead and protect its position in the playoffs places. Arturas Gudaitis led Zenit with 15 points and 8 rebounds, while Mateusz Ponitka also scored 15 and Billy Baron added 11. Thomas Walkup top scored for Zalgiris with 12 points, with Joffrey Lauvergne (11), Lukas Lekavicius (11) and Marius Grigonis (10) also scoring in double figures. Zenit improves to 12-6 and Zalgiris drops to 11-9 after suffering two defeats this week.

Ponitka glided to the basket to open the scoring, before Walkup responded with a floater. Lauvergne’s three-point play gave Zalgiris its first lead and Grigonis struck from deep, but Ponitka responded from beyond the arc for a 10-8 lead. Augustine Rubit and Rokas Jokubaitis sent Zalgiris in front, but Andrey Zubkov and Baron swished triples to make it 17-14 after ten minutes. Jokubaitis scored 4 points early in the second to tie it up, 19-19, and the low scoring continued as neither team netted a field goal for more than two minutes. Zubkov dunked and KC Rivers nailed a mid-range jumper, but Jokubaitis and Lauvergne kept Zalgiris level. Ponitka struck from the corner but Grigonis responded with a three-point play, 27-27. Austin Hollins dunked, Arturas Milaknis and Vitaly Fridzon struck from deep, before Jokubaitis and Lauvergne combined for an alley-oop and it was 36-36 at the break. Gudaitis opened the second half’s scoring, but Milaknis again hit from deep. Two more inside scores for Gudaitis gave Zenit fresh air, Ponitka stretched the lead to 47-41, and four points from Anton Pushkov maintained the advantage. Baron struck from beyond the arc, making it 56-49 at the end of the third. Lekavicius pulled Zalgiris closer with five points early in the fourth, but Hollins hit a pair of jumpers to make it 62-54. Baron added another triple and Zubkov did likewise for a 68-56 lead with four minutes remaining. Nigel Hayes gave Zalgiris hope from long-range, but Kevin Pangos struck from beyond the arc and Zenit’s defense held firm the rest of the way.


Zenit tops Zalgiris again

Having already won at Zalgiris earlier in the season, this victory completes the sweep for Zenit, which has now won all four EuroLeague meetings between the teams.

Host overcomes early shooting woes

Both teams struggled for offense in the opening stages, with only two baskets scored in the first 3:40. Zenit made only 1 of its first 6 field goal tries and Mateusz Ponitka was the only home team player to score from the field in the first nine minutes. But the host soon improved and finished with a strong 14-of-21 two-point conversions (66.7%).

Century of blocks for Gudaitis

Arturas Gudaitis was the game’s outstanding player with 15 points and 8 rebounds as he shone against his former club, and the big man also reached a career milestone with his 100th career blocked shot in the competition. He becomes the 39th player to reach that figure, tied with Maceo Baston and Adam Hanga.

Next round

Both teams will be at home next week for big games in the race for the playoffs. Zenit welcomes Anadolu Efes Istanbul on Thursday, and Zalgiris receives a visit from Olympiacos Piraeus the following day.

Arturas Gudaitis - Zenit St Petersburg - EB20
Friday, January 15, 2021
Euroleague.net
Referees: BELOSEVIC, ILIJA; HORDOV, TOMISLAV ; VYKLICKY, ROBERT
Attendance: 710 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
Zenit St Petersburg17192021
Zalgiris Kaunas14221316
End of Quarter1234
Zenit St Petersburg17365677
Zalgiris Kaunas14364965
Zenit St Petersburg
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 RIVERS, KC 20:22 4 2/2 0/2   1 3 4 2   1     3   4
3 ZAKHAROV, DENIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4 PANGOS, KEVIN 30:52 6 1/3 1/8 1/2   3 3 7   6     2 5 3
7 FRIDZON, VITALY 5:21 3   1/1                   1   2
9 HOLLINS, AUSTIN 21:14 6 3/3 0/4     1 1 1 1       1   4
10 THOMAS, WILL 26:44 2 0/1 0/1 2/2   4 4 1 2 4     3 3 3
12 BARON, BILLY 14:27 11 0/1 3/5 2/2   1 1     1     3 2 7
14 PUSHKOV, ANTON 9:57 6 2/2   2/2   1 1       1   4 1 5
16 TRUSHKIN, VLADISLAV DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
20 ZUBKOV, ANDREY 16:06 9 1/1 2/3 1/2 1 2 3 3 1 1     1 2 14
25 PONITKA, MATEUSZ 28:04 15 2/4 2/3 5/6   6 6 2   3     1 4 19
77 GUDAITIS, ARTURAS 26:53 15 3/4   9/10 5 3 8       1   1 7 28
Team           2 4 6               6
Totals 200:00 77 14/21 9/27 22/26 9 28 37 16 4 16 2 0 21 24 94
        66.7% 33.3% 84.6%
Head coach: PASCUAL, XAVI
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Zalgiris Kaunas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 WALKUP, THOMAS 23:20 12 3/4 0/4 6/6   2 2 2 4 2   1 4 5 13
1 BLAZEVIC, MAREK DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4 LEKAVICIUS, LUKAS 16:46 11 3/5 1/2 2/2   2 2 2   1     2 3 12
10 HAYES, NIGEL 24:30 3 0/2 1/4   1 2 3 1 2       2 1 3
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS 18:40   0/2       4 4   1 2     2   -1
16 LUKOSIUNAS, KAROLIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 MILAKNIS, ARTURAS 21:45 6 0/1 2/3     1 1     1     2 1 3
23 GEBEN, MARTINAS 7:30   0/2     4   4           2 1 1
24 RUBIT, AUGUSTINE 15:11 4 2/6     1 1 2           3   -1
31 JOKUBAITIS, ROKAS 21:23 8 3/7 0/1 2/4   3 3 2       1   6 11
40 GRIGONIS, MARIUS 27:06 10 3/7 1/4 1/1 1 1 2 2 1 2     2 2 6
77 LAUVERGNE, JOFFREY 23:49 11 5/7   1/1 1 1 2 2   2     5 2 8
Team           2 1 3               3
Totals 200:00 65 19/43 5/18 12/14 10 18 28 11 8 10 0 2 24 21 58
        44.2% 27.8% 85.7%
Head coach: SCHILLER, MARTIN

Head Coaches

PASCUAL, XAVI
Zenit St Petersburg

“It was a tough game, both teams played hard defense. We tried to control the game by defense. I have to congratulate Zalgiris for playing good defense and trying to destroy our creation. But also congratulations to my players who played with great effort. They were always with character and we deserved to win. We played excellent defense so we have to be happy. We are a team, we have to try to win even if we have problems. Sometimes it will be impossible but we have to try in every game, that is what our supporters and this club deserve. We have to be ready in any occasion, be flexible and follow our plan.”

“Zalgiris is a very vertical team and the best in the competition from the foul line, but only in the second quarter we allowed them to score some free throws. It was important to spend many minutes in every quarter without going into the bonus and except in the second quarter we did this.”

SCHILLER, MARTIN
Zalgiris Kaunas
“I thought it was very tough fought game by both teams. Congratulations to Coach Pascual and Zenit. I’m really impressed with them, a very good defensive team and with weapons offensively. It’s a great competition out there. The game was physical at both ends which is what we wanted, but we couldn’t buy a basket especially in the first quarter. We had excellent looks but we couldn’t make a shot, which hurts. I felt in the first quarter we could have been up by 8 or 10. Those points were missing down the stretch. From the defensive viewpoint, we put the opposition to the free throw line too often. And that they scored 17 points off offensive rebounds, which plays a big role. That’s the story of the game.”

Players

PONITKA, MATEUSZ
Zenit St Petersburg
“Our team played much better in the second half. We came out with better defense, stronger and more physical. We didn’t let them push us like in the first half. We built some leads and I’m proud of my team because we kept the lead in the fourth quarter which isn’t easy against Zalgiris, they are a very active and mobile team who play very hard to the end. Congratulations to both teams for a very good game, now we have to go further and focus on the next games. You get used to the schedule – we take care of our bodies and the coaches prepare us well. We just go with our routines and so far it’s ok, let’s keep it like that.”
GUDAITIS, ARTURAS
Zenit St Petersburg
“Today they were really prepared tactically but we also followed our game plan and I’m happy that we took this win. Every time when I play against my hometown team it’s something special.”
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