Smith makes history in UNICS's home win
UNICS Kazan grabbed its second consecutive home win in Top 16 Group H by overwhelming Cedevita Zagreb 105-70 on Wednesday. UNICS improved to 2-1 in the standings and second in the group behind undefeated MoraBanc Andorra. Cedevita is fourth with a 0-3 record. Jamar Smith led the winners with 19 points and a career-high 10 assists for his first-ever EuroCup double-double. Raymar Morgan added 14 points, Maurice Ndour had 13 and Trent Lockett and Evgeny Koleshnikov each scored 10 for UNICS. Andrija Stipanovic led Cedevita with 16 points, Justin Cobbs netted 15 and Jacob Pullen had 11 for Cedevita. UNICS led 46-38 at halftime, boosted its margin to 73-54 after 30 minutes and did not find much trouble to seal the win long before the final buzzer.
Stipanovic followed free throws with a backdoor layup to give Cedevita an early 4-6 lead. Morgan scored down low and three-pointers by Maksim Sheleketo and Errick McCollum put UNICS in charge, 12-8. Sheleketo and Morgan kept pushing the hosts and Smith struck from downtown, which prompted Cedevita to call timeout at 21-12. Back-to-back baskets by Jacob Pullen brought the visitors within 21-16 after 10 minutes. Domagoj Bosnjak hit a triple and Pullen added a driving layup that tied the game, 21-21, early in the second quarter. It didn't last long, however, as a turnaround jumper by Pierria Henry sparked a 9-0 run that Lockett capped with a layup for a 30-21 UNICS lead. A jumper by Morgan soon made it a double-digit game, 33-23. Stipanovic and Darko Bajo rescued Cedevita and a layup by Jakov Mustapic caused UNICS to stop the game at 38-35. Kostas Kaimakoglou and Anton Ponkrashov helped UNICS boost its margin to 47-38 at halftime. Stipanovic scored down low right after the break, but back-to-back three-pointers by Smith and a jumper by McCollum broke the game open at 57-41. Lockett joined the three-point shootout and Smith downed his fifth for a 65-46 UNICS lead. The hosts kept a 73-54 margin after 30 minutes. A 10-0 run, which Ndour capped with a layup, sealed the outcome, 85-56, and allowed UNICS to celebrate a well-deserved win.
Jamar Smith recorded his first career double-double, finishing the game with 19 points and 10 assists. He fired in 5 of 7 shots from beyond the arc and collected 3 steals to finish the game with a performance index rating of 29, which is also a career best.
Cedevita managed to get within 38-35 late in the first half, but Kostas Kaimakoglou, Anton Ponkrashov and an unstoppable Jamar Smith fueled a 19-6 run that Erick McCollum capped with a jumper. UNICS built a 57-41 gap and kept full control of the game from that moment until the final buzzer.
UNICS just shot the ball much better. Both teams took the same number of three-point attempts, 21, but UNICS hit 12 and Cedevita just 5. UNICS also scored 32 of 51 two-point shots (62.8%) and finished the game with 30 assists - a new EuroCup club record.
Did you notice?
Smith has now hit at least one three-point shot in 50 consecutive EuroCup games. He started his run against Zenit St. Petersburg on November 9, 2016. Incredibly enough, Smith had combined for 0-of-11 three-pointers in his team's previous two games. In the meantime, Smith led Unicaja to the 2017 EuroCup title and helped UNICS reach the playoffs last season.
Both teams meet again in the Croatian capital on Wednesday, January 23. Cedevita will be eliminated with a loss.
Wednesday, January 16, 2019