In a clash of former champions, Galatasaray Doga Sigorta Istanbul controlled the game against UNICS Kazan from start to finish, holding a double-digit lead for the majority of the night and avoiding any drama in downing UNICS 90-76. During all four quarters, the hosts trailed for less than 1 minute on two brief possessions in the opening minutes of the game, but led the rest of the way.
Missing five players for various injuries - Lazeric Jones, Marko Arapovic, Yigit Arslan, Greg Whittington and Ege Arar – was too much last week when UNICS pounded Galatasaray at home by 25 points, but the Turkish powerhouse bounced back thanks to a bounce-back performance from its leader Aaron Harrison.
After going 0-for-5 from the field last week and failing to score in double-digits for the first time this season by finishing with just 4 points, Harrison dropped a career-high 28 points on Wednesday night. He knocked down a club record and a EuroCup season-high 8 three-pointers while attempting 17, another club record and the most three-point attempts in a single game in more than three years.
Harrison came into the game on fire and playing with purpose. He nailed 5 of his first 7 three-point shots, lifting Galatasaray to a 15-point lead midway through the second quarter. Even though he slowed down in the third quarter, when UNICS began cutting into the deficit and making rallies, Harrison found his touch and stepped up to the plate in the final minutes.
His seventh three-pointer with 3 minutes to go was the key one. It made it a 78-71 game and gave the hosts much-needed breathing room. UNICS never recovered and Harrison finished the visitors off with a buzzer-beater at the game's end for a 14-point margin, which could make a difference in a tight group where all four teams hold 2-2 records.
The victory kept Galatasaray with good chances to make the quarterfinals and Harrison will be poised for a repeat next week when Galatasaray goes for a sweep of AS Monaco.