Kazakhstan «Astana» won a home game against Belarusian «Tsmoki-Minsk» — 101: 71 (20:19, 24:20, 30:20, 27:12).
The «Dragons» arrived at the capital of Kazakhstan with the unambiguous intention to repeat the success of «Kalev», which beat «Astana» in the last round. The hosts were immediately stopped by a precise three-pointer of Alexander Kudryavtsev. After the first quarter, «Astana» led only «+1». The Kazakhs failed to drastically change the situation even in spite of Jeffrey Grossell’s vivid game in the second quarter (10 points); the teams came up with a score of 44:39 in favor of «Astana» to the big break.
«Tsmoki» started the second half energetically and after 5 points in a row from newcomer Vladimir Mikhailovich evened up the score — 44:44. However, «Astana» gradually began to take over the initiative; Jeffrey Grossell and JJ O’Brien began to terrorize the “paint” of the guests. The good ending of the third quarter thanks to the performance by Michael Jenkins, who scored 10 points for a quarter, helped «Astana» to gain a double-digit advantage (74:59), after which the hosts easily brought the match to a big Victoria. And in the last minute, Alexander Zhigulin helped his team to reach the third “hundred” of the season
The most effective players:
Hero — Jeffrey Grossell. The front line of «Tsmoki» was never able to find a way to stop the «Astana» center, who made double-double — 24 points and 10 rebounds in less than half an hour of play.
The figure — 13 victories. «Astana» repeated its record achieved in the 2014/15 season and caught up in the number of matches won with Lokomotiv-Kuban.
«Astana» head coach Emil Rajkovic:
- I am pleased with the game of my team. It is important that we won today by a large margin. We had a slight emotional letdown after being defeated by «Kalev». I think today's success almost guaranteed us a place in the playoffs. This season we are considered as a breakthrough, and we really surprised several strong teams. Now is the time to show a really good basketball, as the key games are already very close.
«Tsmoki-Minsk» head coach Rostislav Vergun:
- «Congratulations to «Astana» on the victory. We wish you good luck in the fight for the high seed, and then in the playoffs. Today, probably, we have become hostages of limited rotation. Only 9 people were ready to play today. At some point, we simply did not have enough physicality and aggressiveness. Due to the wide rotation, Astana received an advantage, which it was able to use for their good.»
The next matches will be played by the team on the road, on February 20 and 21, Astana players will visit Kostanay, where they will meet with the local basketball club «Tobol» in the framework of the regular championship of Kazakhstan among the men's teams of the National League.
The next match of the VTB United League Astana will be on the road, on March 25, metropolitan basketball players will meet with the «Khimki» basketball club.
Detailed information about tournaments, tournament tables, the schedule and results of matches are published in the section Tournaments.