UNICS wins big, spoils Mornar’s EuroCup debut
UNICS Kazan led from start to finish and cruised to 74-97 road win against the competition newcomer Mornar Bar on Wednesday night at Sportska dvorana Topolica. The winning effort was led by big man Maurice Ndour, who dominated the game in near-perfect fashion, scoring 21 of his 29 points in the first half. He made 11 of 12 two-point shots and 7 of 7 free throws to go with 8 rebounds and 2 assists. Raymar Morgan scored 14 points, while Trent Lockett and Pierria Henry dished 7 assists apiece in victory. Bronson Koenig was the rare bright spot for the hosts with 19 points. UNICS scored 6 points in the first minute and needed less than 7 minutes to open a 13-25 lead. Koenig came off the bench for Mornar and hit 3 three-pointers in 4 minutes, helping to keep the hosts within 23-28 early in the second. However, UNICS made a new 5-17 push capped by Anton Ponkrashov's triple to open a 28-45 margin. UNICS led 38-51 at the break before using a pair of triples from Jamar Smith and baskets from Morgan and Ndour to open 48-70 lead midway through the third. The visitors cruised the rest of the way, registering their first win of the season.
Did you notice?
If you tuned in late, you missed a first quarter by UNICS That was a coach's dream. Led by Ndour, the visitors hit 12 of their first 15 field goals attempts, including 10 of 12 for two-pointers, all from close range. UNICS needed less than 6 minute to open a double-digit margin, paving the way to victory.
UNICS big man Ndour was on his game on Wednesday, especially in the first half. He finished with a career-high 29 points, but did the most damage in the first two quarters. In 14 minutes and 29 seconds on court before halftime, Ndour scored 21 points on 8-for-8 two-point shooting and 5-of-5 at the free throw line. That was along with 7 rebounds and 2 assists, all before the break.
In his 7DAYS EuroCup debut, Mornar guard Bronson Koenig came off the bench and sparked his team's offense. He needed only 4 minutes to hit 3 triples in as many attempts and dish 2 assists, including a no-look behind-the-back pass for Marin Mornar's dunk. The hosts lost big in the end, but Koenig was a silver lining, netting 19 points in 20 minutes.
UNICS was clicking on all cylinders, especially offensively, which resulted in a performance index rating of 128, which is club's fifth-highest in the EuroCup. That's no small thing, considering that UNICS has played 170 games in the completion. Also, Coach Dimitris Priftis's team scored 97 points, which is the most the club has scored on the road in nearly eight years.
In Round 2, UNICS will welcome Rytas (1-0) in high-profile clash and a battle of two former competition champions. Meanwhile, Mornar did not open its first EuroCup campaign the way it hoped, and now goes on the road to face Fiat Turin.
Wednesday, October 3, 2018