2020-21Regular SeasonRound 34
April 09, 2021 CET: 19:00
Local time: 20:00 YUBILEYNY SPORTS PALACE

Zenit wins big to stay alive

Zenit St Petersburg will continue fighting to reach the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs for the first time in club history after handily downing Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv 86-69 at home on Friday. Zenit raised its record to 19-14 to move into the eighth and final playoffs place ahead of Valencia Basket (19-15). Due to a tie-break disadvantage against Valencia, however, Zenit must win again in a rescheduled Round 6 game against Panathinaikos OPAP Athens on Monday or be eliminated. Zenit never trailed against Maccabi, turning a 44-37 halftime lead to 66-48 thanks to a 14-2 run in the third quarter. Austin Hollins led five double-digit Zenit scorers with 15 points. Kevin Pangos added 13 points, Will Thomas and Tarik Black 11 each, and Mateusz Ponitka 10. Zenit's defense took 9 steals and forced 16 turnovers on Maccabi, which got 15 points from Tyler Dorsey and 11 from Chris Jones.

Hollins dunked off a steal by Ponitka and Pangos beat the shot clock from deep as Zenit zoomed ahead 7-2. Hollins and Thomas drilled three-pointers as Elijah Bryant steadied the visitors with 5 points. But Black blocked 2 shots and got to the free throw line to raise the Zenit lead to 19-11. Dorsey and Chris Jones scored off the Maccabi bench, but K.C. Rivers and Alex Poythress matched them as Zenit led 25-15 after 10 minutes. Dragan Bender, Bryant, Dorsey and Othello Hunter dropped the difference to 29-23 early in the second quarter before Billy Baron struck from deep for Zenit. Ponitka restored the hosts' double-digit lead, but Dorsey converted a tough three-point play for Maccabi. Hollins struck again from deep and hit a free throw at 38-27. T.J. Cline and Oz Blayzer added triples as Maccabi got within 5 points, but Dmitry Khvostov made it 44-37 for Zenit at halftime.

Ante Zizic dunked for Maccabi to start the second half, but Hollins responded with consecutive baskets and Pangos added another and fed Black to make it 52-43. Wilbekin steadied the visitors with a triple but Pangos matched him on the shot-clock buzzer at 57-46. Ponitka took over with an assist to Thomas before a steal-and-dunk combo as the difference soared to 66-48 after 30 minutes. Zenit was content to trade scores early in the fourth quarter to stay ahead 77-56 as Pangos fed a no-look pass to Andrey Zubkov and scored a second-chance layup with 6 minutes left, leaving too little time for Maccabi to challenge. Zenit was still alive in the playoffs race and one win away from a historic qualification

Pivotal performer

Zenit center Tarik Black started against Maccabi, his only former EuroLeague team, and was a major factor all night, especially on defense. His 2 early blocks and a steal set the tone as Zenit jumped to quick and consistent leads. Black finished with 11 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks in 24 minutes in the absence of fellow center Arturas Gudaitis. His team-high PIR of 21 was Black's best in eight games since joining Zenit in late January.

Key sequence

It was 52-46 midway through the third quarter when Mateusz Ponitka led a 14-2 charge that pretty much decided the outcome. Ponitka had 4 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals in that spell, which was punctuated by a triple from Kevin Pangos and a second-chance three-point play by Tarik Black. The run left Zenit in charge 66-48 through three quarters, after which Maccabi did not challenge the lead.

Shooting streaks

Zenit's Billy Baron has now made three-pointers in 23 consecutive games. That is the EuroLeague's highest current streak and the second-longest ever in a single season. Among four players with 24 consecutive is Maccabi's Scottie Wilbekin, who did so earlier this season. Baron's closest pursuer is his own teammate, Kevin Pangos, who lengthened his three-point streak to 22 games in a row.

Moving up the charts

With his 1 three-pointer in the game, Maccabi's Scottie Wilbekin moved ahead of Trajan Langdon for 14th place all-time in the EuroLeague with a total of 340 shots made from the arc.

Next game

Zenit will finish its season on Monday in a rescheduled Round 6 home game against Panathinaikos OPAP Athens. Zenit will qualify for the playoffs with a victory, but will be eliminated if it loses. Maccabi has finished its EuroLeague season with a ?? record.

Austin Hollins - Zenit St Petersburg - EB20
Friday, April 9, 2021
Euroleague.net
Referees: LOTTERMOSER, ROBERT; PETEK, SASO; RACYS, SAULIUS
Attendance: 3532 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
Zenit St Petersburg25192220
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv15221121
End of Quarter1234
Zenit St Petersburg25446686
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv15374869
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 18:09 4 2/3 0/2     1 1           2    
4 PANGOS, KEVIN 25:09 13 2/2 3/6   1   1 6   1     3 1 14
7 FRIDZON, VITALY 0:28                              
9 HOLLINS, AUSTIN 21:08 15 3/4 2/3 3/4   1 1   1 1     2 2 13
10 THOMAS, WILL 21:12 11 3/5 1/4 2/2 1 1 2           1 5 12
12 BARON, BILLY 19:18 6 0/1 2/5     1 1 2             5
13 KHVOSTOV, DMITRY 10:34 2 1/1           3         1 2 6
20 ZUBKOV, ANDREY 18:48 8 4/4 0/4     2 2 3   1     1 2 9
22 POYTHRESS, ALEX 15:31 6 2/3   2/2 2 3 5 1 1     1 2 1 10
25 PONITKA, MATEUSZ 25:42 10 4/5 0/1 2/2   5 5 5 4 1     2 1 20
28 BLACK, TARIK 24:01 11 3/4   5/5 1 2 3 2 3 2 2   1 4 21
77 GUDAITIS, ARTURAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Team           1   1     2         -1
Totals 200:00 86 24/32 8/25 14/15 6 16 22 22 9 8 2 1 15 18 109
        75% 32% 93.3%
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
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 BRYANT, ELIJAH 21:57 9 3/4 1/4     1 1 1   3     1 1 4
1 WILBEKIN, SCOTTIE 26:55 9 3/4 1/5     1 1 4 1 2     3 5 10
2 CLINE, TJ 18:02 7 2/2 1/1   1 1 2     1     4   4
3 JONES, CHRIS 23:09 11 4/6 1/1     1 1     1     1 2 10
5 HUNTER, OTHELLO 19:29 3 1/3   1/2 1 3 4     2     2 1 1
11 DORSEY, TYLER 22:25 15 3/5 2/3 3/3   1 1     3     2 4 12
12 DIBARTOLOMEO, JOHN 15:19 2 1/2       1 1 2       1 1 1 3
14 BLAYZER, OZ 13:51 7 1/2 1/1 2/2           2   1 1 1 3
17 BENDER, DRAGAN 18:22 2 1/1     1 3 4     2     3   1
18 SAHAR, DORI DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
23 ZIZIC, ANTE 20:31 4 2/3       1 1       1       5
25 ATIAS, YONATAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Team             2 2     2          
Totals 200:00 69 21/32 7/15 6/7 3 15 18 7 1 18 1 2 18 15 53
        65.6% 46.7% 85.7%
Head coach: SFAIROPOULOS, IOANNIS

Head Coaches

PASCUAL, XAVI
Zenit St Petersburg
"I am proud not only tonight, but for all the season. Right now, with this win, we're close. We have one more game to play. I think we're having an excellent season. Monday, we'll have another final. But tonight's game was perfect, from defense to offense and how we approached the game, everything. But Monday will be another game. From tomorrow, we have to start the preparation and be ready for the game, nothing else."
SFAIROPOULOS, IOANNIS
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv
"We didn't start well as Zenit gained a double-digit difference at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, we did a better job on both ends of the court, and at halftime, we said we need to improve our game. The game's critical point came in the third period, scoring only 11 points while turning the ball 8 times, which led to easy points on the other end. From that point, it was really difficult to stop them. It wasn't a good season for us, we need to be better and wiser next season."

Players

PONITKA, MATEUSZ
Zenit St Petersburg
"I am satisfied, first, by our team's game. I think we were serious from the very beginning. We knew what we were fighting for. It's only half the job for us. We have one more important game against Panathinaikos in three days. So we are happy now; it was a great job by the staff, our players and the fans. But now everyone has to focus on the game in three days. We will think about it from tomorrow and try to achieve our goal, the playoffs, of course."
BLACK, TARIK
Zenit St Petersburg
"We prepared every single day and that's the way we are taking it right now: day by day, practice by practice, game by game. That's our focus and when you focus in that way, you don't really get distracted as often. So, we're going to continue to do that until we see the end results. I don't think I was the best player in the game. It was truly a team effort. I play off them. I'm trying to get in the groove and my rhythm, so I play off them."
DORSEY, TYLER
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv
"We couldn't pull it together. They are a good team, and all game long, we couldn't get defensive stops. We’ve got to keep moving, getting ready for the Israeli League and State Cup Finals. It wasn't our year in the Euroleague this season. It's been a rough year."