Unics Kazan sent a statement that echoed all around the continent by downing DKV Joventut 71-82 in Badalona, Spain in Group D on Tuesday. Unics became the only undefeated team in Group D and faces Telekom Baskets Bonn at home next week. Meanwhile, Joventut went down to 1-1 and has a critical road game against Besiktas Cola Turka next Tuesday. Kresimir Loncar paced the winners with a Eurocup career-high 24 points. Marko Popovic and Vladimir Veremeenko each added 16 while Victor Zvarykin had 12 for Unics. Popovic added 6 assists while Veremeenko pulled down a game-high 7 rebounds. Clay Tucker led Joventut with 13 points. Uros Tripkovic and Henk Norel each added 12 for Joventut. Kristaps Valters dished 14 assists, tying a Eurocup record that belonged to Christian Dalmau and Roko Ukic. Unics opened the game with a 2-11 run through an outstanding Veremeenko and kept a solid lead for the best part of the game, leading 32-43 at halftime and boosting its margin to 56-71 midway through the fourth quarter. Tripkovic downed 3 triples in a 13-0 run that got Joventut as close as 69-71 but Popovic shined in crunch time to seal the outcome down the stretch.
Loncar got Unics going with a layup and soon added free throws for a 2-4 lead. Veremeenko sank a four-meter shot and followed Igor Zamanskiy's triple with a fast break dunk to make Joventut call timeout at 2-11. Christian Eyenga rescued Joventut with a layup in transition that Veremeenko bettered with a three-pointer. Norel dunked it but Popovic kept Unics way ahead, 6-16. David Jelinek followed a long jumper with free throws while Norel got the hosts within 13-20. Loncar sank free throws and soon added a triple for a 15-27 Unics margin. A triple by Tripkovic and a final layup by Zvarykin fixed the score at 18-29 after 10 minutes. Valters downed a three-pointer early in the second quarter but Zvarykin rescued the guests with a backdoor layup and a fast break basket. Jelinek and Veremeenko traded mid-range jumpers, as Joventut called timeout at 23-35 to adjust its offense. Pere Tomas followed a triple with a fast break layup to get the crowd involved at 28-35. Unics did not panic, as Petr Samoylenko and Popovic struck from downtown while a put-back layup by Loncar made it a 15-point game, 28-43. Alain Koffi followed free throws with a dunk to bring Joventut within 32-43 at halftime.
Valters tried to ignite the hosts' comeback with a layup but Veremeenko and Popovic capped a 0-8 run with consecutive triples to make the hosts call timeout at 34-51. Tucker nailed a corner triple and then followed Norel's dunk with a jumper to give Joventut some hope at 41-54. A red hot Tucker struck twice from downtown to singlehandedly bring Joventut back to life, 47-54. Unics called timeout but Eyenga capped a 10-0 Joventut run with a huge dunk. Loncar sank a turnaround jumper while Saulius Stombergas shined with consecutive triples to boost the guests' lead to 51-64. A three-point play by Loncar gave Unics an 11-point lead, 56-67, after 30 minutes. Joventut went scoreless for more than 3 minutes, while a layup by Loncar and a dunk by Veremeenko broke the game open, 56-71. Tripkovic stepped up for Joventut with back-to-back triples and free throws by Koffi made the guests call timeout at 64-71. Tucker scored again while Tripkovic downed another triple for a 69-71 Joventut deficit, after a 13-0 run. Loncar shined with a key basket while Popovic followed a jumper with a triple that sealed the outcome, 70-78. Joventut kept trying but Unics had already cruised to an important road win.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009