Zenit St. Petersburg defeated Nizhny Novgorod at home, 92-89 (21-26, 27-26, 17-21, 27-16).
Zenit: Evgeny Voronov (23 + 5 reb), Kyle Kuric (19)
Nizhny Novgorod: Stevan Jelovac (24 + 7 reb), Vladimir Veremeenko (15 + 6 reb)
St. Petersburg outscored visiting Nizhny Novgorod by 11 in the 4th quarter to come away with a three-point win, 92-89. Zenit forward Sergey Karasev, who was named January MVP before the game, only scored 10 points on 3-8 shooting, but Evgeny Voronov compensated with a season-high 23 points and Kyle Kuric chipped in with 19.
Shaky free-throw shooting down the stretch doomed the visitors. After allowing Zenit to take a four-point lead, 88-84, with two minutes remaining, Nizhny Novgorod went 5-10 at the line, helping St. Petersburg hold on for a comeback win.
Despite struggling most of the game, Karasev came up with two of the biggest buckets, twice extending Zenit’s lead in the closing minutes (90-87 and 92-88).
For most of the contest, Nizhny Novgorod was in the driver’s seat. The visitors looked nothing like a 3-8 club, scoring 52 points in the first half en route to a four-point lead. They built on the advantage in the 3rd quarter with defense and 10 points from leading scorer Stevan Jelovac (24 points overall).
Trailing 73-65 entering the 4th, Zenit was led by Voronov for most of the period. The Russian journeyman poured in 11 points on a mix of free throws and layups to knot the score at 82-82 with under four minutes to go. Karasev and Kuric took over the rest of the way, scoring St. Petersburg’s final 10 points in the win.
Zenit improves to 11-2, moving into a tie for 3rd place with CSKA, only half a game behind 1st-place CSKA. Nizhny Novgorod drops into 10th, half a game behind PARMA and Kalev for the final postseason spot.
18-28 – For the game, Nizhny Novgorod made only 18 of 28 free-throw attempts.
Nizhny Novgorod head coach Zoran Lukic:
– I very rarely do this, but today I want to congratulate my team on the way they played against a worthy opponent. Once again, however, our mistakes sank us today. We need to keep working on them. We’ve made significant progress over the past two months, but we’re still missing a little something to beat this caliber of team.
Zenit: February 11 away vs. Astana
Nizhny Novgorod: February 15 away vs. Kalev
Images of the Game