Anderson's double-double leads Zalgiris past Unics
Zalgiris Kaunas grabbed its third consecutive win in Group A by edging Unics Kazan 77-71 in its one-night-only return to Kaunas Sports Hall on Thursday. James Anderson led Zalgiris with 27 points and 11 rebounds, including free throws that sealed the outcome down the stretch. Arturas Milaknis had all of his 14 points in the third quarter to keep Zalgiris ahead for good. Keith Langford led Unics with 24 points. Kostas Kaimakoglou added 11 for Unics, which led 6-12 early. An outstanding Anderson, who had 11 first-quarter points, helped Zalgiris tie it at 17-17 after 10 minutes. A six-meter jumper by Lukas Lekavicius made it an 8-point game soon after that. Vadim Panin and Langford brought Unics within 40-37 at halftime. Milaknis hit 4 three-pointers in six minutes and added a jumper that made it a double-digit game, 56-46. Langford and D'or Fischer got Unics as close as 73-71, but free throws by Anderson and a big block by Vaidas Kariniauskas sealed the outcome down the stretch.
First quarter: Zalgiris overcomes early deficit
Langford got Unics going with a mid-range jumper which Edgaras Ulanovas matched with a backdoor layup. Nikos Zisis fed Dmitry Sokolov for an easy basket, but Anderson followed an acrobatic layup with free throws to give Zalgiris its first lead, 6-4. Langford scored around the basket and a coast-to-coast layup by Zisis put the guests back ahead, 6-8. Langford kept pushing Unics with a fast break layup and a mid-range jumper, as Zalgiris struggled to find open shots and was forced to call a much-needed timeout. Anderson stepped up with a wild triple-and-foul and bettered Langford's off-balance layup with another bomb from downtown that brought the hosts as close as 13-14. James White split free throws and Jankunas tied it at 15-15. Lukas Lekavicius sank foul shots to put Zalgiris back ahead, 17-15. A driving layups by Curtis Jerrells tied it at 17-17 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Anderson puts hosts ahead
Vytenis Lipkevicius took over with a wild reverse layup early in the second quarter and a driving basket by Jankunas made it a four-point game. Lipkevicius scored off a midcourt steal and a six-meter jumper by Lekavicius capped an 8-0 run and ignited the crowd at 25-17. Kaimakolou stepped up with a tip-in, which Jerrells followed with a layup to get Unics within 25-21. After Robertas Javtokas scored down low, Vadim Panin struck from downtown. Darius Songaila restored a 29-24 Zalgiris edge. Panin nailed another three in transition, but Songaila quickly answered with a layup. Free throws by Langford and Kaimakoglou kept Unics close at 31-30. Vaidas Kariniauskas scored in penetration and Anderson took over with a dunk in transition for a 35-30 Zalgiris lead. Langford and Ulanovas traded three-point plays and Panin struck again from downtown. A free throw by Petr Gubanov and a layup by Anderson fixed the halftime score at 40-37.
Third quarter: Milaknis over and over from downtown
Milaknis nailed a three-pointer right after the break. Unics struggled to score early in the second half until Jerrells stepped up with a finger-roll layup, but a red-hot Milaknis nailed a catch-and-shoot triple. Kaimakoglou scored down low, but Milaknis struck again from way downtown to boost the hosts' margin to 49-41. Fischer scored in the paint, before Lekavicius and White exchanged foul shots. Milaknis hit his fourth three-pointer in the quarter to give Zalgiris a 54-45 margin. Fischer split foul shots and Milaknis banked in a turnaround shot that made it a double-digit game, 56-46. Kaimakoglou scored around the basket and Fischer sank a jumper from the elbow for a 56-50 Unics deficit. A layup by White caused Zalgiris to call timeout at 56-52. Anderson shined with an off-balance shot and Ulanovas added free throws, but Jerrells and Viktor Sanikidze kept Unics within 62-55.
Fourth quarter: Down to the wire
Langford swished a three-pointer early in the quarter, but Siim Sander-Vene answered from downtown for a 65-59 Zalgiris lead. Sanikidze hit free throws and Langford buried another triple, which caused the hosts to call timeout at 65-62. Javtokas rescued Zalgiris with his trademark old-school hook shot and a reverse layup by Anderson gave the hosts plenty of fresh air, 69-62, with six minutes left. Langford hit free throws, but he didn't find much help around. Zalgiris struggled to score right when it mattered most, but a free throw by Jankunas and a jumper by Anderson made it an 8-point game. Langford kept pushing Unics with a driving basket and Kaimakoglou nailed a six-meter jumper for a 73-68 Unics deficit in the next-to-last minute. Kaimakoglou split free throws and White brought Unics within 73-71 with 22.2 seconds left. Unics fouled Anderson, who calmly made free throws and a block by Kariniauskas sealed the outcome on a very special night for Zalgiris.
Thursday, November 6, 2014