In the final game of Round 8 of regular season action in the VTB United League, BC Nizhny Novgorod (Russia-VTB) managed to remain without a loss (8-0), after trumping the Nilan Bisons Loimaa (Finland-Korisliiga) 79-65. The 2014 league Finalist’s position is not secure by any means. They are just half a game ahead of the defending champions CSKA Moscow (8-1) and a full game ahead of BC Khimky Moscow Region (7-1). The league’s top teams are not far apart and the VTB League is largely competitive.
The Bisons are 1-8 and despite their low ranking in the league did not roll over easily for Nizhny Novgorod to plow through them. In fact, they came out swinging and took an early first quarter advantage 22-24. Both teams could not find their shot in the second period. Attempts from beyond the three-point arc where not finding their mark and neither were their medium-range jumpers. They found themselves at a 28-28 deadlock at the end of the first half. The Nilan Bisons were definitely in a position to produce a stunning upset at Novgorod.
While the aggressiveness did improve from both teams after the halftime break, unfortunately it did not come with the control their respective coaches may have wanted and ball was turnover a few too many times for comfort. The hosts found themselves ahead by five points, thanks to some creative offense from Taylor Rochestie. Novgorod coach Bagatskis Ainars found the avenue for his team’s success. They fed the ball to their Belarusian big man Artsiom Parakhouski who repeatedly pounded the ball in the paint. Novgorod’s dominance in the low post allowed them to pull away in the final period and go on to claim notch in their win column. Despite shooting an awful 8-of-16 from the free-throw line, Artsiom still managed to end the night with a game-high 26 points, while also grabbing nine rebounds. The Bisons’ Ian Hummer did his best to match Parakhouski’s production down low. The forward ended up with a respectable double-double, notching 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Can Nizhny Novgorod hold on to the league’s pole position, if so, then for how long?