UNICS ties three-point record and crushes CSKA
UNICS Kazan stunned CSKA Moscow with a crushing 67-88 road victory in the Russian derby on Wednesday night, leaving both teams with 9-6 records. UNICS took control with a 0-14 run bridging the first and second quarters, and then added a 0-9 run for a 28-46 lead at half-time. The visitors kept on racing clear after the break, leading by 29 points midway through the third quarter, and it never looked like becoming a fair fight as UNICS cruised home – tying a club record with 15 three-pointers converted. Mario Hezonja led the way with his first EuroLeague double-double, 18 points and 10 rebounds. Isaiah Canaan and OJ Mayo both hit 4 triples in their respective totals of 16 and 14 points, while John and Lorenzo Brown both scored 10. Toko Shengelia offered the only real resistance for CSKA, scoring 20 points, while Alexey Shved added 13.
Two inside scores from Shengelia and a triple from Shved gave CSKA an early lead, but John Brown and Hezonja both scored twice to send UNICS ahead, 7-8. Shengelia followed a triple with a dunk and a layup to restore CSKA’s lead with a 7-0 personal run, and it was 14-11 midway through the first. Lorenzo Brown scored twice and Shved and Dmitrii Uzinskii traded three-pointers before Andrey Vorontsevich hit a triple against his former team to tie it, 19-19. Marco Spissu added another deep strike for UNICS, and Vorontsevich scored 5 quick points to make it 21-27 after ten minutes. Mayo opened the second quarter with a pair of triples, completing a 0-14 run and making it 21-33 as CSKA went six minutes without scoring. Iffe Lundberg ended that run with a three-pointer and Nikola Milutinov added a putback as CSKA fought back. But Hezonja struck a long two, Canaan drained a triple and John Brown twice struck inside, making it 26-42 with a 0-9 run. Again it was Lundberg to get CSKA moving again, but Hezonja threw down an alley-oop and Mayo beat the buzzer for a 28-46 interval lead.
UNICS kept rolling early in the second half as Canaan opened the scoring and Hezonja added a triple. Will Clyburn scored his first points but Tonye Jekiri dunked, Lorenzo Brown added a triple and Hezonja made it a 25-point game, 35-60, with a reverse dunk. Canaan hit another three-pointer and Lorenzo Brown drove through to score as the lead grew to 38-67. Shved and Clyburn were on target from deep as CSKA tried to respond, but Canaan also hit a triple to ensure UNICS stayed comfortable, 51-72, at the end of the third. Another three-pointer from Hezonja and a layup in traffic by Jekiri made sure CSKA had no chance of a fourth quarter fightback, and Mayo’s fourth three-pointer of the night made it 55-80. The scoring slowed in the latter stages as UNICS cruised with little trouble to the finish line, as Canaan and Marius Grigonis traded three-pointers.
Vorontsevich back with a bang
After being out since Round 9 through injury, UNICS forward Andrey Vorontsevich returned to action to face his former team for the first time in the competition since his departure 18 months ago. And the 34 year-old wasted no time in sending CSKA a reminder of his talents after he was introduced to the action midway through the first quarter – he beat the buzzer with a deep three-pointer with his first touch of the ball, and soon added 5 points in a row with a layup-and-one and a transition dunk. Vorontsevich, who spent 14 seasons with CSKA and won three EuroLeague titles, did not add any more points but his early burst played a key role in his team’s triumph.
UNICS inflicts record home loss on CSKA
This was the joint-worst ever home defeat for CSKA in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, with the 21-point margin only tied by a 60-81 loss to FC Barcelona in the 2012-13 season. It also equals the fourth-worst loss for CSKA in any venue. The first half offensive performance was also one of CSKA’s worst, as the hosts’ interval total of 28 points ranks second-worst at home in history. The only time CSKA has scored fewer points at home in the first half came in the 2019-20 season with 26 points against Real Madrid, although that game resulted in a low-scoring 60-55 victory.
Foul line left nearly untouched
This was a very free-flowing game in the first half, with a combined total of only 10 fouls committed in the opening 20 minutes and just one free throw attempted by each team before the break. CSKA committed only 3 of those first half fouls, and if coach Dimitris Itoudis told his players to show more aggression after the break it didn’t really show as UNICS reached the end of the third period with still only 1 free throw attempted. Both teams were very poor from the free throw line, with UNICS finishing up by shooting 1-of-4 and CSKA making 2-of-7.
Wednesday, December 15, 2021