NBA : Kevin Pangos steps up and hands Zenit road win over short-handed Crvena Zvezda


By Stefan Djordjevic /

Despite missing five important pieces of the roster, Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade put up a big fight against Zenit Saint Petersburg, however, the Russians survived for a 76-75 win.

Kevin Pangos banked in 25 points, on 10-14 shooting including 5-6 from deep, and dished seven assists along the way. He also drained the three-pointer to give Zenit the lead and, as it turned out, set the final score.

“I think that team [Zvezda] has a lot of character, they came out and played really hard. Just credit to our team for battling. It wasn’t always pretty but we got it by one point. Zvezda was fighting, that’s all I can really say. They were really battling it. I didn’t think we gave it our best – rebounding, defensively we weren’t moving our feet. We’ve got to fix that going forward. The last play by Poni [Mateusz Ponitka], that rebound, our team fought right to the end, that’s all you can ask for,” Pangos said.

KC Rivers and Arturas Gudaitis helped with nine points each.

The home team has been without Corey Walden, Langston Hall, Quino Colom, Landry Nnoko and Johnny O’Bryant in recent games.

Jordan Loyd had to step up in their absence, and he did with 21 points, although he missed the potential game-winning layup, while Ognjen Dobric followed with 13 and Dejan Davidovac with eight.

Loyd was the sole reason Zvezda kept hope at halftime as he scored 17 to keep the gap at 12 points (48-36). He got much more help after the break as the whole squad contributed evenly and bounced back completely.

The fourth quarter could go either way, as the lead switched sides until the very end, but a few close calls and exemplary performance by Pangos pushed the scale to Zenit’s favor.

Coach Xavi Pascual warned that his team will have to step up their game if they want to come out on top in the upcoming clashes.

“The most important thing tonight is we go home with another win, but we have to improve our game. For sure, we understood that in the last three games we played three excellent teams, Barcelona, Milan and Fener away. But tonight we knew before the game it would be very difficult, and that’s how it was. On Monday we play Milan, and we have to improve if we want to win.”

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