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Zenit takes over in the fourth quarter, defeats Olimpia 79-70


A tough battle in St. Petersburg. Olimpia had the strength to erase a 11-point deficit in the first half to generate a very physical, aggressive and defensive-dominated game in the second half. Milan, saved for a 5-0 lead in the very first possessions, never led by more than four points, in the third quarter after a 8-0 run made single-handedly by Kevin Punter, who was scoreless in the first half and finished with 16 points. But after that run, the game was a street fight, with ties and countless slight margins, until in the fourth quarter with seven minutes left, Zenit took over. It started with the inside play of Will Thomas and Alex Poythress, and finished with Kevin Pangos’ strong finish. His array of three-point shots closed the game and allowed Zenit to win 79-70, giving to St. Petersburg the advantage in head-to-head games.

“It was the opposite of the Milan game between two very good teams that played a playoff game. They were better than us in the fourth quarter, we weren’t sharp enough defensively and offensively. They attacked us inside, especially with Will Thomas and we didn’t have the right answers, and also we didn’t play a good enough defense on Kevin Pangos,” Coach Ettore Messina said at the end.

Olimpia struggled in the paint in the first half, but it corrected the rebounding problem in the second half. Kevin Punter scored 16 points, all in the second half, Shavon Shields had the best game, he scored 15 points, was tough throughout the game, but in a defensive-oriented game, Zenit was the better team tonight.