Lokomotiv-Kuban Krasnodar defeated Zenit St. Petersburg at home, 96-64 (29-17, 23-19, 26-14, 18-14).
Lokomotiv-Kuban: Dmitry Kulagin (14), Dorell Wright (12), Isaiah Whitehead (12), JaJuan Johnson (12), Vitaly Fridzon (11)
Zenit: Brandon Jennings (15), Sergey Karasev (10), Philip Scrubb (10)
On an opening day that featured three blowouts, the showdown in Krasnodar surprisingly featured the largest margin of victory. Lokomotiv began the season in style, crushing Zenit by 32 points behind a balanced attack and Sasa Obradovic’s signature suffocating defense.
Six players scored in double digits for the visitors, five of whom were signed over the summer (Wright, Whitehead, McLean, Fridzon, Johnson). Mateusz Ponitka, meanwhile, may have had the best all-around game, posting eight points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Lokomotiv never trailed in the contest, scoring the first five points and leading by 12 at the first break.
Down early, Zenit never recovered, shooting only 38% from the field, including a 6-19 performance from star guard Brandon Jennings.
Dorell Wright put the exclamation mark on the victory to end the 3rd quarter, knocking down this buzzer-beater on an assist from Jamel McLean.
— VTB United League (@VTBUL) October 5, 2018
Krasnodar has an early claim on most impressive win of the season while St. Petersburg will return home and try to figure out what went wrong.
50-24 – Loko’s bench dominated the Zenit reserves in scoring
Brandon Jennings struggled to find his touch in the defeat, but this moment early in the game made it clear the ex-NBA star came to play for Zenit.
Lokomotiv-Kuban head coach Sasa Obradovic: “After the game I told my players in the locker room that I really liked the game. Every player gave incredible effort. I think the fans also enjoyed watching today’s game. After not playing the way we wanted in Poland, today’s game matched our potential. It’s always important to start right, believe in what you’re doing and then think about the next opponent.”
Zenit head coach Vasily Karasev: “We began the season our way. Last year we lost like this to UNICS, which means we’ll finish 3rd or better. On a serious note, we could have used another day off. Playing on the road two days after the EuroCup is very strange. It was clear from today’s game that we were slower than Lokomotiv, not aggressive enough and unable to impose our style of play. Losing Armand meant a smaller rotation and fewer options on the perimeter, which played a role.”
Lokomotiv-Kuban: October 14 away vs. UNICS
Zenit: October 21 away vs. Astana