«Nizhny Novgorod» beat «Tsmoki-Minsk» at home and strengthened on the fifth position in the tournament table of VTB United League.
In the first minutes of the match, Nizhny tried to build attacks through Gankevich and Toropov, but the Belarussians had time to cover them in paint. So far «NN» has been rebuilt «Tsmoki» managed to take the leadership – 6:11. As a solution, the home team switched to a long break-up to eventually find a free arc, and there was Astapkovich three times. But «Tsmoki» was not inferior in sniper qualities – Bliznyuk and Clark scored three – 17:19. At the end of the first quarter three points from Ivan Strebkov allowed «NN» to take advantage – 25:23.
After only 20 seconds of the second quarter, Mikhail Kulagin had to leave the court. One of the opponent’s players grazed his injured arm. After this unpleasant episode, the team seemed to lose focus, especially in defense. The guards of «Tsmoki» Warner and Clark had open throws without any problems – 31:35. Nizhny`s attack also broke up in 10 minutes, and home team only made four shots out of the game. At the same time, the opponent successfully converted the onwers` losses into scores – 8:0 in favor of Minsk. To all the troubles of the match there were some problems in a row – «Nizhny» recieved a buzzer in the locker room. That was made by Stefan Janković
The tempo of the game in the third noticeably fell. «Nizhny» caught up, but some mistakes in the defense did not have time to solve, and therefore NN missed the jump of «Tsmoki» +8. The rescue came only three and a half minutes before the end of the quarter. Mikhail Kulagin scored three, twice from under the ring was exact Toropov, so the defense was succesful because of character – 50:49.
After capturing the inspiration, Toropov and Kulagin added another five points marking the first break in the second half – 61:54. The rival clearly weakened the grip. Even if Nizhny did not fall in the basket from the distance there was always one who corrected the mistake under the ring at the end of the game. Tsmoki didn`t have any keys to defeat Nizhny Novgorod, so they intercepted the advantage in the ending.
«Nizhny Novgorod» – «Tsmoki-Minsk» – 72:65
Anton Astapkovich (20, 13 rb, 5 ast), Sergey Toropov (17, 7 rb, 2 to), Alexander Gankevich (10, 9 rb, 3 ast), MIkhail Kulagin (8, 2 rb, 2 ast), Ivan Strebkov (5, 3 rb, 7 ast), Maksim Lichutin (4, 2 ast), Nikola Jovanovic (4), Rolands Freimanis (2, 2 ast), Anton Kardanakhishvili (2)