«Astana» defeated Russian «Zenit» with a wide margin — 87:64 (23:21, 21:21, 21:12, 21:10).
Kazakhstan team immediately demonstrated that they were serious about their intentions, winning the first period with the score of 23:21. Throughout the first half there was a hard struggle on the court — shortly before the buzzer for a long break Kyle Kuric briefly brought guests ahead, but the «Astana» found their own heroes in the face of Anthony Clemmons and Leonidas Kaselakis, who regained the lead of the hosts.
After the break, the game achieved its turning-point. «Zenit» lost energy, playing hard on two sides of the court, which the rebellious hosts did not fail to take advantage of. Clemmons and Kaselakis continued to lead their team ahead, and very soon the difference in the score became double-digit. «Zenit» lost its game: during the last 9 minutes «Zentit» managed to score only 2 points, and only hosts' relaxed mood after ensuring their victory allowed the athletes of Vasily Karasev to avoid the season's antirecord. «Astana» wins the most important victory in the season and again joins the fight for the playoff.
Ike Udano. The American took full advantage of the absence of «big» Drew Gordon and held one of the best games for «Astana,» making a double-double — 21 points and 10 rebounds in just 27 minutes.
The most effective:
Acting head coach of BC «Astana» Mikhail Karpenko:
- I have to say that in the first half there was an equal game, which mirrored in the score, we attacked well, but made mistakes in defense, made losses, which resulted in easy points of the opponent. At the same time, we were focused on our task and followed the plan for the game. In the second half we already started to gain the advantage in the score, and in the fourth quarter already have completely controlled the game. Thanks to my team for the work, I congratulate all the fans with a big victory.
Head coach of «Zenit» Vasily Karasev:
- The trip was hard for us — the team just returned from Italy, where there was a hard game for entering the playoff. We had one day to prepare for today's match. The team was slow in all aspects. We did not run at all, could not play one-to-one, tried to rely on three-pointers, but missed.
- «Astana»: Ike Udano (21 + 10 rebounds), Anthony Clemmons (17 + 5 rebounds), Leonidas Kaselakis (16 + 6 rebounds), Justin Carter (15)
- «Zenith»: Kyle Kurich (13), Marco Simonovic (10)
The next matches «Astana» will be held on its court, on February 14 and 15. The capital basketball players will host the basketball club «Barys Atyrau» within the framework of the National League of the Championship of Kazakhstan.
«Astana» will hold the next game within the framework of the VTB United League on its court on March 4, Astana basketball players will receive the Belarusian club «Tsmoki Minsk» on their court.