Credit: Yegor Aleyev/TASS-Scanpix
Credit Yegor Aleyev/TASS-Scanpix

Zenit St. Petersburg (1-0) began its Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season with a hard-fought victory.

In the Russian clubs’ clash, Zenit 70-69 (18-22, 15-11, 18-16, 19-20) beat UNICS Kazan (0-1)

With 4 minutes left to play, Zenit led 66-54, and it looked like the visitors will comfortably finish the game. However, Isaiah Canaan and Mario Hezonja had other thoughts.

Canaan scored 8 points in a row, Mario Hezonja added a lay-up after the fast break, and with 19.7 seconds left to play, UNICS cut the deficit to three points (67-70).

Zenit got the ball in their hands, but Jordan Loyd immediately lost it, and UNICS got another chance. Velimir Perasovic asked for a timeout, after which Canaan scored a basket, and the UNICS deficit was cut to a single point (69-70).

However, the hosts didn’t manage to make a foul, and Zenit successfully ran down the clock to secure a victory.

Conner Frankamp had a successful EuroLeague debut and was a top performer for Zenit. The Amerian forward finished the game with 18 points (1/2 2PT, 3/8 3PT, 7/7 FT), 1 rebound, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 6 drawn fouls, and 16 PIR.

Baron added 17 points (1/2 2PT, 4/8 3PT, 3/3 FT), 4 rebounds, 2 turnovers, and 14 PIR.

After three very tight quarters, Zenit opened the last 10 minutes of the game with a strong push.

Billy Baron sank a three-pointer, Arturas Gudaitis added a lay-up, while Dmitry Kulagin made two jumpers in a row, and Zenit built a double-digit lead after a 9-1 run (60-50).

The hosts managed to cut the deficit to 8 points, but Baron answered with two 3-pointers in a row, and with 4 minutes left to play, Zenit built a 12 points lead (66-54).

Canaan was UNICS’ top scorer. American guard got 18 points (3/5 2PT, 4/8 3PT), 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, and 11 PIR.

Hezonja scored 14 points (4/7 2PT, 2/6 3PT) and added 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 turnover, and 12 PIR.

Shabazz Napier didn’t help for Zenit, while UNICS didn’t have O.J. Mayo.

UNICS: Isaiah Canaan 18 (4/8 3PT), Mario Hezonja 14 (4/7 2PT, 2/6 3PT), John Brown 10 (5/7 2PT), Lorenzo Brown 7 (6 AST).

„Zenit“: Conner Frankamp 18 (3/8 3PT, 7/7 FT), Billy Baron 17 (4/8 3PT), Jordan Loyd 10 (1/5 3PT, 5 REB), Arturas Gudaitis 8 (4/6 2PT).


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Points this season

Points made: 69,0
Accuracy: 46,6%
Place in standings: 6
Record max: 69
Record min: 69
Best scorer: Isaiah Canaan