Langford's big 4th quarter lifts Unics past Efes
Unics Kazan rallied from a 15-point deficit in the second half to edge Anadolu Efes Istanbul 67-64 at home on Thursday. Unics improved to 2-4 and boosted its chances to reach the Top 16, while Efes dropped to 4-2. Keith Langford scored 12 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to lead Unics's comeback. D'or Fischer added 16 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks, while Kostas Kaimakoglou netted 10 points for Unics. Dario Saric led Efes with 13 points and 9 rebounds. Dogus Balbay added 11 points and Matt Janning had 10 for the guests. An outstanding Balbay and a three-pointer by Milko Bjelica allowed Efes to get a 14-18 edge after 10 minutes. Kaimakoglou and Langford brought Unics within 20-22, but Cedi Osman and Dontaye Draper fueled a 0-7 run that gave Efes a 28-34 margin at halftime. A 0-9 run that Saric capped with a reverse layup gave Efes its biggest lead, 28-43, right after the break. Efes still led 43-53 after three quarters, but a 15-2 run put Unics ahead, 58-55. Saric managed to put Efes back in front, 60-62, but Langford hit 7 of 8 free throws in the final two minutes – including 4 in the final 5.8 seconds – to lead Unics to a critical home win.
First quarter: Balbay puts visitors ahead
Dario Saric got Efes going with a layup in transition, but Dmitry Sokolov split free throws and dunked to give Unics a 3-2 lead. Matt Janning buried a six-meter jumper before Kostas Kaimakoglou matched it with a fast break layup and Nikos Zisis scored in penetration for a 7-4 Unics edge. After Stephane Lasme scored down low, Sokolov made foul shots. An acrobatic layup by Dogus Balbay kept Efes within 9-8. Saric stepped up with a put-back layup after a timeout. D'or Fischer countered with a basket inside. Balbay nailed a six-meter jumper off the dribble, which Fischer bettered with a layup-plus-foul. A red hot Balbay quickly answered with his own three-point play and Milko Bjelica struck from downtown for a 14-18 Efes advantage at the end of the quarter.
Second quarter: Efes remains in control
Both teams struggled to score until Bjelica swished a five-meter jumper. Unics could not find the way to the basket and a layup by Lasme made it an 8-point game. Sergey Bykov finished a three-chance Unics offense with a close basket, but he didn't find much help around. Kaimakoglou stepped up with a three-pointer, however, and Keith Langford split free throws to get within 20-22. Cedi Osman rescued Efes with a bomb from downtown and a jumper by Donnie McGrath restored a 5-point edge. Dontaye Draper took over with a wild driving layup that capped a 0-7 run. Zisis made free throws, but Osman provided a highlight with a fast break slam, which caused Unics to stop the game at 22-31. Fischer followed a layup with free throws but a triple by Bjelica kept Efes in control. James White brought Unics within 28-34 at halftime.
Third quarter: Unics fights, but Efes extends lead
Janning buried a three-pointer immediately after the break. Perperoglou hit a jumper and Janning added a layup, which boosted the guests' lead to 28-41. Unics had been held scoreless for more than three minutes, while a reverse layup by Saric capped a 0-9 Efes run for a 28-43 lead. Fischer split foul shots and a layup by Kaimakoglou brought the hosts a bit closer. Langford scored in penetration, as Unics improved its defense midway through the quarter. Efes kept struggling to score and a driving layup by Curtis Jerrells brought the hosts within single digits. Osman took over with an off-balance three-point play. Langford made free throws, but a jumper by Draper kept Efes way ahead, 37-48. Langford insisted with foul shots and an alley-oop slam by Fischer gave Unics hope. Balbay shined with a two-handed slam and a buzzer-beating triple by Janning restored a 43-53 Efes lead.
Fourth quarter: Langford leads impressive comeback
Kaimakoglou hit one from beyond the arc early in the quarter and a layup by Fischer made it a 5-point game. Efes had lost control on offense and a big triple by Jerrells caused Coach Dusan Ivkovic to call timeout at 51-53. Balbay provided a highlight with a wild put-back slam in traffic, but Fischer dunked off a steal and a three-pointer by Langford completed the hosts' comeback at 56-55, midway through the quarter. Jerrells scored in penetration to cap a 15-2 run before a triple by Saric tied the game at 58-58. Langford scored around the basket, but Saric followed a four-meter jumper with free throws for a 60-62 Efes edge with over two minutes to go. Langford made 3 of 4 free throws to put Unics back ahead, 63-62, with 52.6 seconds left. Efes had chances, but Stratos Perperoglou missed a jumper and Bjelica stepped out of bounds with 5.8 seconds to go. Langford and Draper traded free throws. Efes fouled Langford with 2.6 seconds left; he made both attempts and Draper missed from way downtown at the buzzer.
Thursday, November 20, 2014