Zenit St. Petersburg defeated Avtodor Saratov at home, 103-81 (26-19, 29-17, 18-26, 30-19).
Zenit: Jalen Reynolds (24 + 7 reb), Vladislav Trushkin (17), Marko Simonovic (16), Codi Miller-McIntyre (13 + 11 ast)
Avtodor: Trae Golden (20 + 7 ast), Perrin Buford (14 + 6 reb), Nikita Mikhailovsky (13 + 6 reb), Anthony Ireland (13)
Zenit snapped a two-game skid with a convincing win over Avtodor on Sunday night, led by Jalen Reynolds’ 24 points and a double-double from Codi Miller-McIntyre.
The home team seized control in the first half with 55 points and outstanding defense, limiting the visitors to 36 points. Saratov had scored over 100 points in each of its last three outings, but barely made it over 80 in this game, shooting only 30% from beyond the arc (6-20).
Zenit scored the first four points of the game courtesy of Reynolds and never trailed, stretching its lead to 13 late in the 1st quarter after three straight layups from Miller-McIntyre.
Avtodor responded with a 12-0 run that cut the deficit to 26-25 early in the 2nd quarter, but the rest of the half belonged to Zenit.
Reynolds and Vladislav Trushkin dominated Avtodor’s frontcourt with 14 unanswered points and the home team led by as much as 21 before halftime.
Saratov played its best basketball in the 3rd quarter, getting as close as eight points (70-62), on an Anthony Ireland 3-pointer, but the visitors never truly threatened.
St. Petersburg was too balanced on offense down the stretch, scoring 30 points in the 4th to put the game out of reach quickly and seal its 11th win.
Avtodor, meanwhile, drops to 8-11, half a game behind Kalev for the final playoff spot.
32 – number of St. Petersburg assists. Zenit had almost twice as many as Avtodor (18).
Jalen Reynolds. The regular season’s most effective player played like an MVP, shooting 12-14 from the field for 24 points and seven rebounds in only 22 minutes.
Zenit head coach Joan Plaza: “Without going into too much detail, we should be satisfied with the result. It’s not easy to beat Avtodor by such a large margin. We still have issues with our roster, plus our tendency to not play consistently for 40 minutes reared its head again. Gal Mekel and Evgeny Voronov just got back from injuries and are not in the best shape yet. We can play better on defense. We’ll keep working on it.”
Avtodor head coach Evgeny Pashutin: “We let our opponent pull away early and let them take open shots. We were better in the 2nd and 3rd quarters and managed to cut the deficit to six points, but Zenit was stronger at the end. I don’t want to make empty promises, but we will fight for a playoff spot until the end.”