Tsmoki-Minsk Belarus defeated PARMA Russia at home, 80-68 (10-16, 22-16, 18-16, 30-20).
Tsmoki-Minsk: Devon Saddler (23 + 5 ast), Zisis Sarikopoulos (15 + 12 reb), Vladimir Mikhailovic (15 + 5 reb)
PARMA: Konstantin Bulanov (18), Rashard Kelly (16 + 10 reb), Alexander Platunov (10 + 6 ast)
Tsmoki-Minsk (2-16) and PARMA (4-16) entered the game as the League’s two worst teams. The first half was a closely-contested, low-scoring affair. Devon Saddler, Nikita Meshcharakou and Aliaksei Trastsinetski’s 3-pointers midway through the 2nd quarter gave the Belarusians their first sizable advantage (31-22). Konstantin Bulanov led Perm back, scoring seven points in a minute and a half to tie the game at halftime, 32-32.
Not much changed in the 3rd quarter. Zisis Sarikopoulos gave Minsk a symbolic two-point lead, 50-48, with several offensive rebounds and a pair of free throws.
Зисис @34sari_ БЛОКИРУЕТ Кена Брауна 😱
— VTB United League (@VTBUL) March 24, 2019
Saddler erupted for seven points at the start of the 4th quarter, 57-48. Perm responded with baskets from Tre’ McLean and Eigirdas Zukauskas, but a four-point play from Brian Rush pushed Tsmoki’s lead to double digits (66-54) and effectively clinched the win with four and a half minutes remaining.
The Dragons picked up their 3rd win of the season, snapped a 10-game losing streak and now have a good chance to catch PARMA and move out of last place before the end of the season.
106 – number of days since Tsmoki-Minsk’s last win in the League. The Belarusians defeated VEF on December 8 (91-84).
Tsmoki-Minsk head coach Rostislav Vergun: “Congratulations to my guys. This is their win above all for the way they worked and prepared this week. They didn’t have to wait long for a result. Personally, I dedicate my win to each of the players and their families, who always support us. Playing in an atmosphere like this in Minsk with the type of energy we receive from the crowd was special motivation. I’d also like to note our opponent’s play and wish them luck.”
PARMA head coach Viacheslav Shushakov: “We played pretty aggressive, which is why we weren’t focused enough on the glass. Sarikopoulos picked up a lot of offensive rebounds and got second-chance points. We made some mistakes switching on defense and let the Greek get too many offensive rebounds. Plus, we have Mikhailovich and Saddler chances to shoot. Today, we were punished for our lack of focus in one-on-one situations.”