Nizhny Novgorod Earns Gutsy Win In Finland

Nizhny Novgorod defeated Bisons on the road, 79-73. The home team was in control during the first half, but the visitors shifted the momentum after the break, outscoring Bisons by 16 in the 3rd quarter. Led by Dmitry Khvostov's clutch performance, the visitors held on for the win and moved back above .500.

Nizhny entered with a three-game lead on Bisons for the final playoff spot. Playing at home, the Finns could not afford a loss.

For 20 minutes, Bisons dominated the visiting Russians. The trio of Ike Udanoh, Martin Zeno and Aubrey Coleman sliced up Nizhny's defense like a knife through butter. Nizhny Novgorod, meanwhile, got little production from the bench, which contributed just four points during the first half. For much of the half, the home team enjoyed a double-digit advantage, taking a 48-36 lead into halftime.

Ainars Bagatskis must have found the right words to say during the break. His men were on a mission in the 3rd quarter, limiting Bisons to 11 points, while Rasid Mahalbasic, Semyon Antonov and Dmitry Khvostov spearheaded the attack. Nizhny won the quarter by a score of 27-11 to pick up a four-point advantage entering the final period.

In need of a comeback, Bisons couldn't solve Dmitry Khvostov down the stretch. The Russian national team playmaker dished out three straight assists, leading to eight points. The home team kept it close until the final minutes, but a momentum-crushing technical foul helped Nizhny pull out the win and improve to 9-8 on the season.

Star Player
Dmitry Khvostov. Semyon Antonov was also terrific, but Khvostov managed to shift the momentum with his scoring and playmaking down the stretch. He finished with 15 points and eight assists.

Stat of the Game
70 points - Nizhny's starting five scored 70 of the team's 79 points.

Bisons head coach Greg Gibson:
- We were awful in the second half. Everyone was already celebrating our 10-point advantage. We didn't have a killer instinct. You can't stop like that after halftime. We applied decent pressure in the final 3-4 minutes, but it was already too late.

Nizhny Novgorod head coach Ainars Bagatskis:
- I was worried about our physical condition after a tough trip. The first half showed that I had good reason for concern. Bisons plays like a typical American team, which scores a lot of points on the fast break. During the second half, they didn't score more than 10 points in the halfcourt. We managed to stop them. We could have played smarter down the stretch, but our three straight turnovers gave Bisons a chance. I'm happy that we eventually pulled out the win.