Zagreb Hold Off Resilient Khimik


KK Zagreb have endured a season-long struggle in all competitions but they grinded out a victory on Wednesday in their EuroChallenge game against Khimik Yuzhny of Ukraine.

Zelkjo Pavlicevic's team won 88-78 to leave both sides with 1-1 records in Group F.

The Croatian team, playing at home, were fully focused from the opening tip and never trailed in the contest.

They got their noses in front with an early 9-1 run for an 11-3 lead and stayed on top the rest of the way though Khimik pushed them all the way.

Zagreb's biggest advantage in the first quarter was 19-6 and in the second they went in front by 17 before going to half-time with a 49-39 lead.

Ante Tomic had 13 points and Krunoslav Simon nine for Zagreb at the break while Khimik's Sasa Bratic had a game-high 14.

Khimik refused to go away, and three-balls to close the third quarter by Oleksandr Ryabchuk and Olu Famutimi left the visitors trailing just 69-66.

They drew even closer at 71-69 after a three-pointer from Andriy Agafonov nearly two minutes into the fourth quarter.

Neither side scored for nearly three minutes before a Tomic lay-up with 5:23 remaining in the game - his first basket in the second half - restored a four-point advantage for the home side.

Khimik made it 79-76 after a shot from behind the arc by Goran Cakic, and after Andrej Stimac made a lay-up for Zagreb, Bratic dunked to close the gap to 81-78.

Simon scored five straight points in reply, which included a make from three-point land, as Zagreb held on.

Simon led all scorers with 21 points and Luka Zoric added 20 for Zagreb while Bratic poured in 18 for Khimik.

Khimik stayed in the game because of their three-point shooting. They were a scintillating 15 of 29 (51.7%) compared to six of 20 (30%) for Zagreb.

However, Zagreb were 29 of 43 (67.4%) inside the arc compared to 12 of 29 (41.3%) for Khimik.


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