2018-19Top 16Round 5
January 30, 2019 CET: 18:00

McCollum leads UNICS into quarterfinals!

UNICS Kazan punched its ticket to the 7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinals by downing injury-plagued host Zenit St. Petersburg 67-82 on Wednesday. UNICS improved to 4-1 in in Top 16 Group H and mathematically made it to the next round along with MoraBanc Andorra. Meanwhile, Zenit dropped to 1-4 and is eliminated from the playoffs race. Errick McCollum led the winners with 19 points. Jamar Smith added 15 while Raymar Morgan had 12 for UNICS. Jarrod Uthoff led Zenit with 13 points. Philip Scrubb and Jalen Reynolds each scored 10 for the hosts. UNICS led 15-24 after 10 minutes, extended its margin to 29-40 at halftime and then again to 50-62 at the end of the third quarter, not allowing UNICS to get back in the game and cruising to a well-deserved win.

Melvin Ejim got UNICS going with a corner triple and an alley-oop layup that Morgan followed with a jumper for a 4-7 lead. Reynolds and Evgeny Voronov hit free throws but Morgan scored again and Smith struck from downtown to keep UNICS ahead, 8-12. Marko Simonovic hit a running jumper that Anton Ponkrashov bettered with a three-pointer. Smith buried a tough shot, however Anton Pushkov brought Zenit a bit closer, 14-18. Artem Klimenko and Ponkrashov led a 0-6 UNICS run to fix the score at 15-24 after 10 minutes. Simonovic banked in a close shot early in the second quarter and Codi Miller-Intyre scored in penetration but Ejim and Morgan kept the guests way ahead, 19-28. Scrubb and Miller-McIntyre each downed a triple to make UNICS call timeout at 25-28. Ejim stepped up with a put-back layup and Morgan added a mid-range jumper but layups by Scrubb and Reynolds kept Zenit close until Trent Lockett and McCollum fueled an 0-8 run that gave UNICS a double-digit lead, 29-40, at halftime. Reynolds and Morgan traded baskets right after the break and Lockett scored in transition for a 31-44 UNICS lead. Uthoff struck twice from beyond the arc and added a fast break layup in an 8-0 Zenit run. Ejim rescued UNICS with a put-back layup that Voronov bettered with a triple that brought Zenit within 42-46. Lockett, Smith and Pierria Henry scored around the basket to make Zenit call timeout at 42-52. McCollum followed a floater with a step-back jumper but Scrubb and Reynolds kept the hosts within 47-56. McCollum, Simonovic and Smith each struck from downtown for a 50-62 score after 30 minutes. A red-hot McCollum took over with a three-point play and free throws early in the fourth quarter to break the game open, 50-68. Smith downed his trademark corner triple to cap a 0-12 run that sealed the outcome, 50-71, with 7 minutes left. Zenit kept trying but UNICS had plenty of time to celebrate a really important win.

Pivotal performer

McCollum caught fire late in the late third and early fourth quarters, scoring 13 points in 4 minutes. He finished the game with 19 points on 4-for-5 two-point and 8-for-10 free throw shooting. He added 3 assists and 6 fouls drawn for a PIR of 17.

Game-changing moment

UNICS managed to stay within 29-32 late in the first half but a layup by Lockett sparked a 0-8 run in which McCollum dunked and hit free throws. It allowed UNICS to get a double-digit halftime lead, 29-40, getting full control of the game from that moment forward.

Stellar stats

UNICS finished the game with excellent shooting percentages: 69.7% inside the arc (23-of-33) and 47.1% from downtown (8-of-17). Zenit was limited to 46.9% two-point shooting (15-of-32) and 32% from deep (8-of-25). UNICS also controlled the boards, outrebounding Zenit by 23-30.

Did you notice?

UNICS has made it to the EuroCup Quarterfinals for the eighth time in 12 EuroCup season. It has reached this stage in six of its last seven appearances in the competition.

Next game:

Both teams return to EuroCup action next Wednesday, February 6. UNICS hosts Andorra in a direct battle for first place in Group H, while Zenit visits Cedevita Zagreb.

Errick McCollum - UNICS Kazan (photo Zenit) - EC18
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Attendance: 2613
By Quarter1234
Zenit St Petersburg15142117
UNICS Kazan24162220
End of Quarter1234
Zenit St Petersburg15295067
UNICS Kazan24406282
Zenit St Petersburg
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 ARMAND, SEAN 27:57 8 4/5 0/4     1 1 1   3     3 3 2
2 REYNOLDS, JALEN 26:55 10 3/7 0/1 4/4 1 1 2   2 2     1 3 9
11 MILLER-MCINTYRE, CODI 21:36 5 1/2 1/5   1 1 2 5 2 2     3   4
12 BALASHOV, SERGEI 1:16                              
14 PUSHKOV, ANTON 11:03 6 2/3   2/2         1       3 1 4
18 VORONOV, EVGENY 19:56 5 0/2 1/2 2/4 2   2 1 1 3     5 3 -1
19 SIMONOVIC, MARKO 18:35 7 2/3 1/5     2 2 1 1 1   1 1 1 4
21 UTHOFF , JARROD 23:09 13 2/6 2/3 3/4   3 3 1 1   1 1 2 3 13
23 SCRUBB, PHILIP 27:48 10 1/4 2/3 2/2 1 3 4 5   1     2 3 15
31 VALIEV, EVGENY 14:33     0/1         2 2 1       1 3
77 USOLTSEV, ILIA 7:12 3   1/1                   2   1
Team           4 3 7     1         6
Totals 200:00 67 15/32 8/25 13/16 9 14 23 16 10 14 1 2 22 18 60
        46.9% 32% 81.3%
Head coach: PLAZA, JOAN
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
2 MORGAN, RAYMAR 25:03 12 6/7   0/2   1 1 3 1 2 1 1 1 6 17
3 EJIM, MELVIN 21:39 9 3/3 1/3   2 1 3 1 1   1   1   12
4 LOCKETT, TRENT 18:00 6 3/5 0/1   2 4 6 2         2 1 10
6 MCCOLLUM, ERRICK 26:52 19 4/5 1/4 8/10       3   3     2 6 17
7 PONKRASHOV, ANTON 14:51 5 0/1 1/1 2/2       1   4       1 2
12 KLIMENKO, ARTEM 14:08 6 2/2   2/2   4 4   1 3     5 3 6
15 SMITH, JAMAR 26:03 15 3/5 3/5     4 4 2   3     2 1 13
17 CARMICHAEL, JACKIE 0:49                              
42 KOLESNIKOV, EVGENY 10:17 8 1/2 2/3     1 1   1       4 1 5
45 SHELEKETO, MAKSIM 2:19           1 1     1          
49 HENRY, PIERRIA 23:57 2 1/3       2 2 4 2 2     1 3 8
88 KAIMAKOGLOU, KOSTAS 16:02           2 2 2             4
Team           2 4 6     1         5
Totals 200:00 82 23/33 8/17 12/16 6 24 30 18 6 19 2 1 18 22 99
        69.7% 47.1% 75%

Head Coaches

Zenit St Petersburg
"First of all, it is obvious that they played better than us, with more rotation, more energy. They deserved to win and I would like to congratulate UNICS for the win and also for qualifying to the next round. It is true that we lost the battle of the rebounds and had to make some players play many minutes. For that reason, they did not arrive to the last quarter in the best shape. We are not looking for excuses, but we played a 'four' at the 'three' position, a 'five' at the 'four' and a 'two' at the 'one'. We have five injured players. I think that right now, UNICS is a team with more rotation than us and pretty great talent. Sometimes, I try to believe that our junior guy, Ilya, can do well as a starter, but we need more rotations. We had to use Jarrod (Uthoff) as a 'three' when he has played as a 'four' all season. We wanted to compete and did it in some moments of the game. But in some crucial moment, we lost the chance to get closer, maybe because of our anxiety. In any case, they were better than us and there is nothing to discuss."

"First of all, congratulations to my players. It was a tough game and we had a really difficult schedule with a lot of away games. Our fatigue is at a very high level, but I think the team responded pretty well against a tough team. We were expecting a tough, difficult game against a very strong team with good defensive rhythm. It was difficult to play against them in the second half because we knew Zenit had its final chance and they would fight like it was a final game, like there was no tomorrow. We had to match their mindset and I think we did it so. Again, congratulations to my players."

"It is important that we qualified after this game and we have one last game in our home court to claim the first position. The game was difficult, with special circumstances like some injuries that both teams had. I believe Zenit is a tough, strong team. They play hard, with contact. We had control of the game except for some short gaps that we had in which we needed to raise our level of concentration and handle them better. The goal is to play every game seriously, try to do our best to achieve the level that is clor to our abilities. Which is not easy; it is difficult. But this is our main goal."


Zenit St Petersburg
"We missed our open shots, and also UNICS score some crazy points. We played good on defense, but Kazan was better. When we came so close, they scored again a couple of difficult baskets."
"I had a couple of turnovers, missed two free throws, but I was happy with my energy. I felt like I made good reads and my teammates did an excellent job screening, making my job easy. I think we came in with defensive intensity. It was good for us to lose our last game in the VTB League; you never want to lose a game, but sometimes it makes you hungrier. It makes you look at yourself in the mirror and see what you can improve. I think we came out today wanting to improve our defensive energy, press and be aggressive, and that made the difference in the game. They only scored 67 points, and when we do that, I think we can be very successful."