Kevin Pangos authored one of his best games in a Zenit St Petersburg uniform to lead his team to a critical victory over AX Armani Exchange Milan on Monday. With the 79-70 victory in a makeup game from Round 5, Zenit climbed from seventh place in the standings to fourth and has a game at hand that, if it wins, would propel the team past Milan into third.
The situation might have been very different for Zenit if not for the play of Pangos, who matched his season-high with a performance index rating of 25. The point guard tallied 16 points, 10 assists and 3 steals for his third double-double of the season. He had 10 points, 3 assists and 1 steal for a PIR of 12 in the fourth quarter alone. More to the point, after Shavon Shields tied the game at 60-60 3 minutes into the fourth quarter, Pangos took control with 7 points and an assist in an 11-2 run that all but decided the game.
Coach Pascual relied heavily on the former All-EuroLeague guard; Pangos led all players with 32:20 minutes on the floor. Yet with the game on the line, he was at his best. Pangos drove past Shields for a layup with 5 minutes remaining and a little more than a minute later his jumper of Shields made it 66-62. His three-pointer for a 9-point lead with 2:35 started the celebrations and his final triple with a minute remaining secured the victory.
Pangos's play is even more impressive when compared to his Milan counterparts. Malcolm Delaney had one of his worst games ever in the EuroLeague with a career-low index rating of negative-8. Sergio Rodriguez was good for 10 points and 5 assists, but even so Pangos outscored the Milan playmakers, dished more assists, collected more steals and committed fewer turnovers… while playing 11 minutes and 31 seconds less than the Delaney-Rodriguez duo.
Fans were allowed back in Sibur Arena for this game and their support meant a lot to Pangos and co. who won their fifth straight home game. With Zenit's next three games all in St Petersburg and Pangos playing at the level of his 2017-18 All-EuroLeague campaign with Zalgiris Kaunas, more special nights could be in store for Zenit, soon.