Avtodor defeated Nizhny Novgorod at home, 84-75 (23-16, 21-13, 18-23, 22-23).
Avtodor: Brendan Frazier (20 + 6 ast), Coty Clarke (14 + 13 reb + 5 ast), Artem Klimenko (14), Micah Downs (10)
Nizhny Novgorod: Stevan Jelovac (25 + 5 reb), Ivan Strebkov (15 + 5 ast)
Avtodor continues to impress under new head coach Evgeny Pashutin, notching a win in Saratov over Nizhny Novgorod. Led by 20 points from Brendan Frazier, who sank a buzzer-beating game-winner in Minsk two weeks ago, Avtodor shot 58% from the field and led by 15 at halftime en route to a win.
Nizhny had a chance to pass Avtodor in the standings with a win, but started flat as Avtodor jumped out to an 18-6 lead in the opening 6:46. The home team had the inside game going, led by big man Artem Klimenko, who scored 10 in the 1st quarter, including a pair of dunks.
Avtodor would lead by as much as 18 in the 2nd quarter and limited Nizhny to only 29 points in the first half, unsurprising for a Evgeny Pashutin-coached club.
Led by Stevan Jelovac, who scored a game-high 25, the visitors began chipping away at the deficit in the 3rd. Jelovac dropped 14 in the period, helping Nizhny make it a 10-point game, 62-52, entering the 4th.
An 11-1 run from the visitors to open the final quarter temporarily stunned Avtodor and the home crowd. Ivan Strebkov drained a pair of triples in the run, tying the game at 63-63 with 7:31 to play.
But the home team rallied quickly. Frazier sank a layup on the following possession and Micah Downs stretched the lead to five after a Nizhny turnover. Frazier and Coty Clarke, who finished with a double-double, took over down the stretch, helping Avtodor regain a double-digit lead and knock off a feisty Nizhny Novgorod club.
— VTB United League (@VTBUL) December 2, 2017
+26 – Avtodor had a huge advantage in the paint, outscoring Nizhny, 50-24. The home team only attempted 12 3-pointers, showing an ability to get the ball inside at will.
Avtodor head coach Evgeny Pashutin:
– Congrats to the guys on the win. This was an incredibly important game for us. After all, Nizhny Novgorod is directly competing with us for 6th place. We got off to a good start. Our defense was aggressive–we pressured the ball, got a lot of steals and fast breaks. In the 3rd quarter, Nizhny switched its defense and upped the intensity. As a result, we started to make mistakes and hold onto the ball for too long. We lost our rhythm and sense of control. We began relying on 1-on-1 play too much. We need to do a better job of holding a lead and playing team basketball. I’m glad we started to move the ball against our visitors’ defense in the final quarter. We hit several important open shots, played smart, logical basketball, executed on several fast breaks and made fewer mistakes. We couldn’t contain Strebkov, who made three 3-pointers from the weak side. Jelovac was also very good from midrange and the perimeter. But I’m still convinced that the team took a big step forward. Of course, we have a lot of work to do in order to play with the same level of intensity against any opponent.
Nizhny Novgorod head coach Zoran Lukic:
– I want to congratulate Avtodor on the win. Unfortunately, we only played our style of basketball in the second half. Before halftime, we made too many incorrect decisions and didn’t knock down a lot of open shots. At this level, opponents will punish you for stuff like that. If we had played like we did in the second half throughout the game, who knows how the game might have ended. We created open shots, but missed 13 open 3-pointers in the first two quarters. That was the key to today’s loss. We’ll connect to adjust our approach and try to reach a competitive level as quickly as possible.
Avtodor: December 9 home vs. Zenit
Nizhny Novgorod: December 10 away vs. Khimki