Kazakhstan «Astana» defeated the Russian «Zenit» at home — 93:91 (24:20, 13:28, 29:22, 27:21).
Zenit arrived in Kazakhstan after the Eurocup away game in Italy. Brandon Jennings has returned, but the team is still experiencing difficulties due to injuries. During the first 6 minutes, the St. Petersburg team scored 5 points (5:14). The actions of Jaylen Reynolds in the paint helped the Russians to catch up on the score by the end of the first quarter (20:24), and the second part of the game was already dictated by “Zenit”. «Astana» couldn't cope with a quick rhythm set by the St. Petersburg team, which resulted in 28:13 and «Zenit's» +11 by a long break. By the middle of the third quarter, «Zenit» had already had the advantage of 19 points (64:45), but then another breakthrough took place. Anthony Clemmons, who certainly was on a roll, scored 13 points and returned Astana to the game before the decisive moment — 66:70.
The game was decided at the end, where «Astana» managed to use its chances better. A long shot by Gal Mekel 3 minutes before the end lit 85:85 on the scoreboard. After that, «Zenit» made two unfruitful attacks, and JJ O’Brien and Clemmons made the opponent to break the rules and brought the Kazakhstan team forward — 89:85. Decisive possession was reduced to all the same free throws: yellow-blue did them without a miss and kept the advantage — 93:91. «Astana» beats «Zenith» on its home court for the second season in a row.
The top scorers:
The hero of the game is Anthony Clemmons. The point guard returned the team to the game at a critical moment when he scored 13 points in 5 minutes in the third quarter. On Clemmons' account, a rare double-double thanks to assists — 26 + 10
«Astana» head coach Emil Raykovich:
- I want to thank each player. Despite the fact that we were losing with a difference of 19 points, they continued to believe in success, showed character and got a beautiful victory for our fans. Congratulations to all!
«Zenit «head coach Vasiliy Karasev:
- We can blame only ourselves for this defeat. In the third quarter, when we were almost 20 points ahead, we relaxed and considered the game to be decided. We made several absolutely unnecessary stupid shots, had unexplained losses, all of which allowed «Astana» to catch up with us. In the end, they could not concentrate and take a lead. They were getting fouls, there were difficulties with rotation even without that. It is clear that it is very difficult to play with only five people left, they tried to find the right combination, but it turned out to be completely unsuccessful.
The team will hold the next matches on its court. On October 23 and 24, «Astana» will host Kostanay basketball club «Tobol» within the framework of the regular Kazakhstan Championship among men's teams of the National League.
The next match of the VTB United League for «Astana» will be held on the road, on October 29. The capital basketball players will go to Poland, where they will meet with the newcomers of the league — «Zielona Gora» basketball club.