Unics cruised to the ULEB Cup quarterfinals with a 95-64 victory over visiting Hemofarm Vrsac on Tuesday, in Kazan, Russia. Unics swept the teams' two-leg eighthfinals series after winning the first game in Serbia by 17 points. Unics will face the winner of the tie between Montepaschi Siena and PAOK Thessaloniki in the next stage. Jarod Stevenson drilled 4-of-7 from downtown and made 6-of-8 two-pointers on his way to 24 points for the hosts. Dusko Savanovic added 11 points and 6 rebounds, Jerry McCullough had 10 points, 4 steals, and 4 assists, while Yegor Mescheryakov and Saulius Stombergas posted 9 apiece and Ksistof Lavrinovic pulled down 9 boards. Vanja Plisnic tallied 26 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks for Hemofarm, while Velimir Radinovic and Marko Simonovic scored 9 each. Hemorarm was in the game briefly, but Stevenson scored 7 straight to give Unica a 23-17 lead after 10 minutes and the hosts continued to pull away from that point till the final buzzer.
Stevenson opened fire for the hosts from downtown and Meshcheryakov soon boosted his side to 5-1, but Radinovic and Plisnic quickly tied the score at 5-5. The visitors showed themselves to be focused, as Plisnic answered Savanovic's bomb to get them within 8-7. Then Radinovic and Stevenson exchanged jumpers, before Predrag Suput's mid-range jumper followed by a three-point-play converted by Plisnic pushed the visitors in front 12-14. However McCullough was perfect from the foul line to tie the score at 14-14. The lead changed hands four more times in the last two minutes before Unics ended the first quarter with a 7-point Stevenson blitz to go ahead 23-17. Radinovic tried to fuel Hemofarm, but Stevenson was still hot and scored another jumper to maintain a 25-19 cushion. Sergey Chikalkin stepped up for Kazan by nailing a triple, copied few seconds later by Hemofarm's Milos Borisov, to make it 28-22. Miljan Rakic kept the guests in the picture by answering Petr Samoylenko and Savanovic to make it 32-25 midway through the period. Dmitry Sokolov took the honors of pushing the lead into double digits by converting an offensive rebound to made it 36-26. Saulius Stombergas extended the difference to 39-26 from eight meters, Plisnic reduced the gap to 43-33, but McCullough had the last word before halftime, to give Unics a comfortable 49-34 advantage.
Back from the locker rooms, it was again Stevenson who boosted the hosts, highlighting a 13-2 run with a long-distance shot and a slam to make it 62-36 after 4 minutes. Unics continued to push while the frustration on Hemofarm players grew as their hopes of qualification reduced to zero. Lavrinovic scored an easy layup and after Mescheryakov and Plisnic exchanged triples, an unstoppable Stevenson posted his fourth three-pointer as the advantage rose to over 30 points, 75-43. Simonovic and McCullough fixed it at 77-47 at the end of the third quarter. Plisnic was still fighting early in the last quarter, and with 7 consecutive points brought Hemofarm within 81-57, but Chikalkin sealed the final score at 95-64 as Unics took another step on the Road to Charleroi.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007