Khimki Stuns St. Pete, Advances To Finals

Khimki Stuns St. Pete, Advances To Finals

Khimki defeated Zenit on the road in Game 5 of the playoff semifinals, 90-84 (23-22, 16-13, 21-22, 30-27).

Top Scorers
Zenit: Kyle Landry (15+6 reb+5 ast), Sergey Karasev (14+5 ast), Janis Timma (13+7 reb), Ryan Toolson (12)

Khimki: Alexey Shved (28+6 ast), E.J. Rowland (19), Robbie Hummel (14+8 reb)

Khimki erased a 2-0 series deficit and booked a spot in the VTB United League finals with a 90-84 victory in St. Petersburg.

Playing in front of a packed Yubileyniy arena, Zenit and Khimki were gunning for a shot at reigning champs CSKA, not to mention an automatic berth in the 2017-18 EuroLeague.

In the end, Khimki needed another inspired performance from star Alexey Shved and some clutch bench production in the 4th quarter to overcome Zenit.

Backup forward Stanislav Ilnitsky, who barely played in Games 1 and 2, saved his best for last, scoring six points in the final period, including a big 3-pointer that pushed Khimki’s lead to four with under seven minutes to go.

Trailing by six at the midway point of the 4th, Zenit put together a 7-1 run to knot the score at 73-73.

Shved, who finished with a game-high 28 points, answered with a lay-up and 3-pointer. The home team didn’t back down as Kyle Landry and Ryan Toolson matching the high-flying Russian point for point.

With under a minute remaining, Sergey Karasev had a chance to give Zenit the lead, but his 3-pointer was off the mark. On the following Zenit possession, trailing by two, Karasev committed a turnover and E.J. Rowland responded with a dunk to make it a four-point game.

After yet another Zenit turnover, Hummel made it a six-point game with under 30 seconds left on the clock. Toolson and Stefan Markovic gave Zenit a lifeline, scoring three points on two quick possessions, but Shved drew a foul on the following in-bounds play and converted both free throws, 88-84, with seven seconds to go.

That clinched victory for Khimki as Markovic’s desperation 3-pointer was off the mark and E.J. Rowland corralled the rebound.

For the second year in a row, Zenit comes within a whisker of reaching the finals. Khimki, meanwhile, moves on to face archrival CSKA for a shot at the title.

Alexey Shved. As usual, the VTB United League MVP led the way for his team in crunch time and won his duel with Karasev to help Khimki reach the finals.

2 – for the second time in League history, a team overcame a 2-0 series deficit. The first time occurred in 2013-14, when CSKA shocked Lokomotiv-Kuban in the quarterfinals. Khimki, unlike CSKA, did not have home-court advantage and was forced to win Game 5 on the road.


Khimki head coach Dusko Ivanovic:
– This was a very big win over a very good team. The most important thing in this game was to prepare mentally and be focused on defense, because in the opening games, and the games in Khimki, Zenit, above all, played well on defense.

Zenit head coach Vasily Karasev:
– Tough game. We expected this type of situation. Everything was decided in the third and fourth games of the series. We didn’t have fast breaks in this game. The guys ran out of energy after the first half. It was tough physically. Markovic was playing through pain. At the end, we didn’t hit free throws or field goals.



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