PGE Turow Zgorzelec of Poland held onto its first-place standing in Group I with a thrilling 75-80 road win at Unics Kazan in Russia on Tuesday. Using impressively balanced offense, Turow led almost the entire game to raise its record to 3-1 and assure itself at least a share of first place in the group. Unics, meanwhile, fell to 1-3 and must now struggle to get back in the top half of the group. David Logan scored 15 points to lead fice Turow scorers in double figures. Thomas Kelati and Dragisa Drobnjak added 12 points each for the winners, Slobodan Ljubotina 11 and Marko Scekic 10. For Unics, the top gun of the game was Dusko Savanovic with 16 points, while Tariq Kirksay had 14 and Marko Tusek 12. Turow took it to the hosts early, running up its first nine-point lead in the first quarter. That lead never reached double-digits, however, as Unics battled back repeatedly until taking a momentary 56-55 lead to begin the final quarter. Although the hosts had shots to go ahead several times after, Turow stayed one step ahead until it had its clutches around first place for at least another week.
Both teams got several scorers involved as they went basket-for-basket at each other until an 8-8 tie. That's when Logan blasted a three-pointer and Ljubotina a shorter shot for Turow's first notable lead, 8-13. Kelati joined Logan with back-to-back triples as the difference stretched to 12-21. Unics relied on Savanovic to keep close until Virgil Stanescu, McCullough and Kirksay filled a 6-0 run to tie at 21-21. Scekic gave Turow the last word, however, as the visitors led 21-25 after 10 minutes. Kelati and Ljubotina again extended the difference to 23-29 before Unics reacted with baskets by Nikolay Padius to tie at 33-33. Turow wouldn't give up the lead, however, as Harding Nana came on for 6 points that kept the guests in charge, 38-41 at halftime. The scoring pace slowed after the break, but Turow kept ahead, by as much as 9 points, 38-47, on a 6 points in a row between Drobnjak and Andres Rodriguez. Savanovic saved Unics with a triple, and Padius kept helping the hosts, but Logan and Scekic reloaded for Turow to keep ahead by 49-55. Unics made its move then, with Marko Tusek's three-point play and Victor Keyru's jumper cutting the difference to 54-55 at the end of three quarters. Tusek did the honors of giving Unics its first lead since the opening minutes with a jumper to start the fourth quarter. But no sooner had he done so thatn Kelati buried a triple and Drobnjak a two-pointer to put Turow back in front, 56-60. Tusek and Kirksay got Unics within a point, 59-60, before Ljubotina hit a basket and the free throw that came with it. Kirksay and Keyru again trimmed the difference to 62-64. Turow would have none of it: Rodriguez hit the next basket, Logan buried one from long range and Nana returned for another basket to boost the visitors up by 63-71. McCullough and Savanovic again pulled Unics within striking distance at 66-71 with 3 minutes left. McCullough then stole and fed Kirksay for a basket, before Robert Witka's free throw let Turow breathe again at 68-72. But only for some seconds, because the next shot was Chikalkin's first all night from the arc. It splashed in for a new one-point margin, 71-72. Drobnjak answered by pulling Turow back from the brink with a driving basket that left a 71-74 scoreboard headed into the final minute. Unics lost it with five misses on the next possession, however, and when Rodriguez drilled 2 foul shots, Turow was in charge at 71-76. Or so it seemed. Savanovic sooned matched those free throws, and after a Turow turnover, Chikalkin was back with a two-pointer to make it 75-76 with seconds to play. Turow took a timeout, after which Kelati hit 2 of 4 free throws around a key turnover by Unics, and then Logan drilled a final jumper to finally give the visitors from Poland all they needed to claim a good-as-gold road win in Group I.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007