It was a long time coming but Zenit St Petersburg finally captured its first home victory in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague - thanks in large part to Alex Renfroe’s strong second half and Tim Abromaitis’ fourth quarter spark.
The Russian club, which is making its EuroLeague debut this season, lost its first five games at the Yubileyny Sports Palace before breaking through with a 75-70 win over LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne in Round 12 to move to 3-9.
"I'm happy we got a win. Our organization has been waiting on this; us players and coaches have been waiting on a win at home. We just thank our fans for being here. And we thank our families and each other for showing some grit and finally getting a win,” said Renfroe, who led the way with 16 points and 8 assists.
Renfroe hit Zenit’s first basket of the game but did not score the rest of the first half. But the 33-year-old veteran did a great job controlling the game in the second half as he tallied 13 points and helped Zenit commit just four turnovers in the final 20 minutes.
Renfroe’s outburst came after he went scoreless in Round 11 against Real Madrid and had just six points in Round 10 versus KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz.
Abromaitis, who was facing an ASVEL team for whom he played in his first season as a professional in 2012-13, also went scoreless against Real last week and did not factor in this game until the fourth quarter. But he then nailed back-to-back three-pointers after ASVEL had come out strong in the final frame, and later added another basket for all eight of his points in the final 10 minutes.
“We have good leaders and we have been waiting for this victory. It's big for us and we're going to celebrate a little bit. It's a little bit of a weight off us to get this first home win. We've had some good games at home but they just haven't gone our way. We've been working hard and waiting for this kind of win,” Abromaitis said.
In large part thanks to Renfroe and Abromaitis, it can now be said to Zenit: welcome to the EuroLeague home win column.