UNICS leaves Istanbul with first road win
UNICS Kazan collected its first road win of the season by holding off Bahcesehir Koleji Istanbul 67-70 on Tuesday evening at Akatlar Arena. UNICS trailed by as many as 17 in the first half and survived a fourth quarter that featured six lead changes and two ties to improve to 4-2 on the season. Bahcesehir, which lost by 3 points or less for the third time this season, saw its record drop to 0-7. Jamar Smith led the way for UNICS with 17 points and 5 assists – including 5 free throws in the final minute to keep Bahcesehir at bay. John Brown tallied 13 points and 9 rebounds and Okaro White had 10 and 7 to the winners. Erick Green paced Bahcesehir with 23 points, Jamal Jones collected 14 points and 7 rebounds, Burak Yildizi scored 13 and Josh Owens added 11 points and 8 boards.
Each team's top scorer broke the ice with Green drilling a three-pointer for Bahcesehir and Smith netting a reverse layup for UNICS. The visitors could not find the bottom of the net as Green added 4 more points to make it 9-2 after 5 minutes. A timeout by UNICS did little to change the momentum as Green's second triple gave him 10 points and Bahcesehir a double-digit lead. Brown scored on back-to-back possessions to revive the visitors; however, Owens's second bucket kept the hosts in total control. Jones's tip-in and a free throw later extended the margin to 17 before Isaiah Canaan free throws ended the fourth quarter with Bahcesehir up 22-7. Smith started the second half with a triple and Jordan Morgan scored inside to cut the margin to 10. Evgeny Kolesnikov's layup drew UNICS within 26-18. Jones responded with 6 quick points, which resulted in a UNICS timeout. John Brown and Smith got UNICS going again. Free throws by Artem Klimenko, Nate Wolters and Dmitrii Uzinskii capped a 0-10 UNICS run to get within 34-31 at the break.
Bahcesehir scored the first 5 points of the second half, but UNICS was able to keep pace and tie it at 43-43 through Jordan Morgan's fastbreak slam. A three-point play by Green put Bahcesehir back on top, but the advantage was short-lived as Wolters's lefty layup lifted UNICS to 46-47 for its first lead of the night. Canaan's three-pointer lifted the visitors to a 48-53 lead, which was how the third quarter finished. Bahcesehir held UNICS scoreless for the first 4 minutes of the fourth quarter while Owens and Yildizi hit free throws in an 8-0 run to regain the lead. The lead soon changed hands again, 56-57, on White's basket in the paint and would continue back and forth over the next few possessions and it was all square, 62-62, with 2 minutes remaining. Kolesnikov stepped up with a clutch thee for UNICS, after which Jones sank free throws for the home side. Free throws by Smith made it a two-possession game with 11 seconds, however, Green answered with a quick 3 for Bahcesehir. The hosts' hopes were dashed when Peyton Aldridge was called for an unsportsmanlike foul on Smith, who sank 2 more free throws to put the game on ice.
The rebounding story
A big part of Bahcesehir's fast start was its dominance on the offensive glass: the hosts took 7 offensive boards in the first 10 minutes and turned them into 10 points. However, UNICS limited Bahcesehir to just 6 more offensive rebounds and 4 more second-chance points the rest of the game.
UNICS silenced Perez
Alex Perez went off for a career-high 33 points in Round 2 in Russia, when UNICS squeaked by Bahcesehir by a single point. This time UNICS was ready for Perez and held him scoreless for the first time. Peres missed all 5 of his shots and committed 3 turnovers in posting a career-worst PIR of minus-7.
Top 10 scorer
A week after he became the EuroCup's all-time leader in the three-pointers made, Jamar Smith moved into the competition's career top 10 in scoring. With a three-pointer for the first points of the second quarter, Smith passed Todor Stoykov (1,138) for 10th place and his free throws in the fourth quarter put Smith ahead of Chuck Davis (1,147) for ninth place. Smith, who finished the game with 17 points, now has 1,152 career EuroCup points. Next on the list is E.J. Rowland (1,183). Smith's 2 three-pointers in the game extended his record to 228 int hat category.
UNICS faces another tough road trip next week when it takes on Partizan NIS Belgrade on Tuesday, November 17 for its Round 8 game. Bahcesehir will visit Spain to take on Joventut Badalona that same evening.
Tuesday, November 10, 2020