VTB League campaign began with win over Khimki 0


Zalgiris started the VTB United League campaign with a 75:69 (16:17, 21:18, 14:16, 24:18) win over the visiting Khimki Moscow Region at home in Kaunas on Sunday.

Both Zalgiris and Khimki were drawn into the same Euroleague group and will be playing each other at least three more times this season.

“As we play in the same Euroleague group as Zalgiris, the players will get to know one another better and it will be interesting to see how the tactics differ in these four games between the sides before Christmas,” said Khimki coach Sergio Scariolo.

You can check out the moments from the game in our photo gallery. Khimki  had increased their lead to three (63:60) after Benjamin Eze slammed one home in the end of the final quarter. However, seconds later Martynas Pocius and Tomas Delininkaitis combined for five straight points to give Zalgiris a two-point lead at 65:63.

Tadas Klimavicius provided the final blow to the visitors’ chances scoring six points in a row to finish off an 11:0 run for Zalgiris that sealed the home team’s victory.

“Zalgiris played until the very end and that was the most important thing. We stopped with two minutes on the clock and committed a lot of turnovers, which left us out of the game,” Scariolo explained.

Martynas Pocius led the hosts with 18 points, Tomas Delininkaitis scored 11 as DeJuan Collins added 9 points and 6 assists. Mirza Begic had a decent game with 9 points and 7 boards while Tadas Klimavicius chipped in with 8.

“Khimki are in a better shape than us,” said Zalgiris’ head coach Aco Petrovic. “They started the season earlier in the Euroleague qualification round and the Russian league. We didn’t make open shots and that will be solved in the future. The players gave a good effort and that was a good preparation game before the match against Partizan.”

Vitaly Fridzon had a game-high 19 points for Khimki nailing 4-of-6 from the distance as Keith Langford provided an offensive spark for the visitors as well finishing the game with 17 points. Benjamin Eze contributed with 9 points but committed 5 turnovers while Zoran Planinic also had 9 points with an additional 5 assists.