Nizhny Novgorod Russia defeated Astana Kazakhstan at home, 85-78 (21-21, 29-14, 21-19, 14-24).
Nizhny Novgorod: Chris Czerapowicz (27 + 6 reb), Kendrick Perry (14 + 6 reb + 8 ast), Ivan Strebkov (11 + 6 ast), Ilya Popov (10)
Astana: J.J. O’Brien (25 + 8 reb), Anthony Clemmons (14 + 7 reb + 5 ast), Geoffrey Grosselle (11 + 5 reb), Michael Jenkins (11)
Nizhny Novgorod snapped Astana’s four-game winning streak with a gritty 85-78 win at home. Chris Czerapowicz paced the home team with 27 points, helping the Russian club vault into a tie for 7th place.
Nizhny has now won three in a row with victories vs. two top-5 teams in Astana and Khimki.
After surviving a double-overtime marathon vs. PARMA before the New Year, the home team tried to put this game away in the first half.
Blistering 3-point shooting from Nizhny blew open a tight game in the 2nd quarter. The home team drained six of eight from beyond the arc and outscored Astana 29-14 in the period to take a 50-35 lead into halftime.
Zoran Lukic’s men added to the lead in the 3rd quarter, going up 17, 71-54. But Astana gave their hosts a scare down the stretch, despite ultimately falling short.
J.J. O’Brien scored 10 of his team-high 25 for Astana in the 4th and Alexander Zhigulin’s triple with 3:57 remaining capped a furious rally that sliced the deficit to six, 75-69.
Nizhny woke up just in time. Czerapowicz knocked down a huge 3 of his own on the next possession and the home team was able to hold off the hard-charging visitors with big baskets down the stretch.
Nizhny improves to 5-6, tied with Avtodor for 7th. Astana drops to 5th place at 7-4, a half game behind Lokomotiv-Kuban.
25-9 – Nizhny dished out 16 more assists than Astana.
Nizhny Novgorod head coach Zoran Lukic: “I rarely say this, but today I want to tell my team: “Great job!” That’s all my commentary on the game. I also want to thank our fans, who came to support us during the New Year’s holidays. It’s very important for us!”
Astana head coach Emil Rajkovic: “Congratulations to Nizhny on the win. They were definitely better than us today. I think this game was lost in the first half, when we let our opponent score 50 points on us. In the second half, we tried to come back and got within six points several times, but at the end of the 4th quarter, we committed an unfortunate turnover, which ended the game for us.
When we had a chance to catch up, Nizhny hit some very tough shots. Especially Czerapowicz. He demonstrated an excellent game: 6-10 from beyond the arc.
It’s been a long time since our last game and it was noticeable in today’s game. Today after the loss we need to settle down a little bit, analyze everything and prepare for the next meeting.”