Avtodor Russia defeated Zielona Gora Poland at home, 112-106 (28-23, 30-32, 23-26, 31-25).
Avtodor: Trae Golden (31 + 8 reb + 13 ast), Boris Savovic (24), Artem Zabelin (20), David Kravish (12 + 7 reb)
Zielona Gora: Kodi Justice (21), Przemyslav Zamojski (17), Markel Starks (16 + 7 ast), Zeljko Sakic (12 + 5 reb)
Avtodor got revenge for a loss earlier this season in Poland, outgunning Zielona Gora 112-106 in a wild game in Saratov. Trae Golden enjoyed a career performance, nearly recording a triple-double with 31 points, eight rebounds and 13 assists and posting a season-best 46 efficiency rating (4th all-time in the League).
The Russian club desperately needed the victory after dropping three in a row. Zielona Gora, which entered on a six-game skid, looked like the ideal opponent for Evgeny Pashutin’s men.
But Igor Jovovic and co. had a few surprises for the home team. After losing the 1st quarter 28-23, the Poles battled back to tie the contest at 81-81 entering the 4th quarter.
The visitors knocked down 15 3-pointers in the contest, led by five apiece from Przemyslav Zamojski and Kodi Justice. Justice’s final triple gave 4-17 Zielona Gora a shocking 86-83 lead early in the final quarter.
D.J. Newbill, however, responded with a pair of clutch 3-pointers, sandwiching an Artem Zabelin dunk that put Saratov on top for good, 91-88.
Zielona Gora had more chances down the stretch. The best opportunity to salvage a win came trailing 108-104 with less than a minute remaining. After forcing an eight-second call on Avtodor, Adam Hrycaniuk missed an opportunity to make it a one-possession game and the hosts went on to ice the win at the free-throw line.
The victory lifts Avtodor to 9-13, still a game and a half behind Kalev for 8th place. Zielona Gora falls into a tie for 13th with PARMA (4-18).
— VTB United League (@VTBUL) March 31, 2019
18 – despite getting outshot 15-7 from beyond the arc, Avtodor cleaned up inside, outscoring the visitors 56-38.
Zielona Gora head coach Igor Jovovic: “Overall, I’m very happy with our play today. We played like a team against an opponent that’s focused on offense. I think the outcome was decided in the final three minutes, when the home team hit its shots and we missed several open 3-pointers which might have turned the game in our favor. But we had 15 offensive rebounds, 22 assists and team play. Those were all positives. I’m confident that if we keep playing like this, we’ll definitely get better.”
Avtodor head coach Evgeny Pashutin: “Today’s game was very important for us to stay alive in the playoff race. It was very important to win at home against Zielona Gora. The guys started strong, moved the ball and did a good job shooting. We have size and big players who allow us to feel confident under the basket. It’s not easy for opponents to score beneath the rim, but we need better perimeter defense. I want to note the effort from the players. Today they showed heart, especially in the 4th quarter. We played for each other and didn’t let the opponent get open looks at the end. I think we took a step toward our goal today. The important thing now is to analyze and improve our play on defense for future games.”