UNICS tops Darussafaka to win Group C
UNICS Kazan locked up first place in Group C of the 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season as it fought off Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul 71-68 at home on Wednesday. Evgeny Kolesnikov scored a game-high 14 points while Errick McCollum had 13. Raymar Morgan picked up 12 points and 8 rebounds and Jamar Smith scored 11 more as UNICS – having already qualified for the Top 16 before the game started – improved to 6-4 and won a first-place tie with Germani Brescia Leonessa. Darussafaka also was already through to the next round but fell to 5-5 despite Jarrod Jones scoring 15 points and Johnathan Hamilton adding 13 points.
A three-point play by Kolesnikov helped UNICS open a 9-7 lead. But Darussafaka then unleashed an onslaught from the outside with Doron Lamb and Jones both hitting twice from the arc and Bonzie Colson's triple making it 17-24 after 10 minutes. Neither team could score in the first 2 minutes of the second quarter until Mahir Agva's tip-in. It was more than 3 minutes before McCollum hit UNICS's first basket of the frame and a second Agva tally made it 19-28. Another Colson triple gave Darussafaka its first double-digit lead 21-31. Sinan Guler added another triple for the guests and a 23-34 lead before UNICS scored on four straight possessions with a McCollum trey and jumper making it 30-34. Agva scored his third basket of the quarter and left the guests up 30-36 at the break. Morgan hit the first 3 points of the second half for UNICS and 5 straight points from Kolesnikov evened the game at 38-38. Smith answered Gary Browne's three-pointer with his own as UNICS nosed ahead 43-41. Darussafaka responded with a 5-13 surge as Kartal Ozmizrak nailed a three-pointer and layup for a 48-54 visitors' lead after 30 minutes. UNICS played tough defense to start the fourth quarter as Alex Tyus and Kolesnikov fueled a 9-0 run to lead 57-54. Jones responded with a long ball for Darussafaka's first points nearly 3 minutes into the quarter, good for a tie, but Smith punched back his own triples as UNICS went up 61-57. Smith and Tyus increased the gap to 66-60 with 3 minutes left, but Darussafaka rallied to tie on Colson's free throws at 66-66 with 33 seconds let. McCollum hit 2 free throws at the other end and after Jones missed a three-pointer, Morgan converted 2 foul shots with 8.6 seconds remaining to make it 70-66. Browne did knock down a jumper with 2.7 seconds to go but Colson was ruled to have committed an unsportsmanlike foul with 1.8 seconds to play and Dmitrii Uzinskii split 2 foul shots for a 71-68 final score.
Clash of former champs
This game in Russia was a showdown of two former EuroCup champions as UNICS took the crown in 2011 and Darussafaka hoisted the trophy in 2018.
Errick McCollum was big all game for UNICS, collecting 13 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 6 assists.
Season best for Kolesnikov
Evgeny Kolesnikov connected on 3 three-pointers in scoring 14 points, a season-high for the 33-year-old guard. His previous high this season was 9 points in two games. It was his biggest output in the EuroCup since scoring 20 points at Cedevita Zagreb in last season's Top 16.
UNICS turned the ball over only 9 times while forcing 15 Darussafaka turnovers. The guests also were held to just 37.9% on two-point shots.
Wednesday, December 18, 2019