UNICS's defense stops Gran Canaria
UNICS Kazan remained undefeated in Top 16 Group H by downing Herbalife Gran Canaria 73-62 at home on Wednesday. UNICS improved to 2-0 in the standings while Gran Canaria dropped to 0-2. John Holland led the winners with 14 points and Jamar Smith and Artem Klimenko each scored 13 for UNICS. Stan Okoye led Gran Canaria with 12 points and Oliver Stevic added 10 for the guests. UNICS led 17-11 after 10 minutes and held a 33-30 lead at halftime. Gran Canaria kept its chances alive for 35 minutes, 58-53, but Holland and Isaiah Canaan fueled a 10-0 run that sealed the outcome long before the final buzzer.
Canaan got UNICS going with a three-pointer and Okaro White added a jumper for a 5-2 lead. Okoye struck from downtown and Aleksander Balcerowski scored down low to put Gran Canaria ahead, 5-7. Sean Kilpatrick nailed a jumper, but Jordan Theodore and Georgy Zhbanov helped UNICS regain the lead, 10-9. Nate Wolters followed a driving basket with a layup off a steal and Smith added a buzzer-beating triple to boost the hosts' lead to 17-11 after 10 minutes. Beqa Burjanadze scored around the basket and Javier Beiran downed a corner three-pointer in an 0-8 run that A.J. Slaughter capped with a jumper to give Gran Canaria a 17-19 edge. Klimenko rescued UNICS and Smith buried his second three-pointer as UNICS went up 25-20. Okoye connected from beyond the arc and Stevic scored twice in the paint to tie it at 27-27. Klimenko hit a jump hook which Tomas Dimsa bettered him with a huge step-back triple. Smith downed a jumper and Klimenko gave his team a 33-30 edge at halftime.
John Shurna improved on Theodore's acrobatic layup with a triple soon after the break. Holland and Okoye each struck from downtown in an 8-0 run that Klimenko capped with a put-back layup. Kilpatrick followed a jump hook with a three-pointer, but Klimenko and Canaan restored a double-digit UNICS lead, 48-38. Stevic and Andrew Albicy combined for all the points in a 0-7 run that brought Gran Canaria within 48-45. Holland buried a couple of three-pointers and White added a reverse layup to give UNICS fresh air, 56-50, after 30 minutes. Holland hit a jumper early in the fourth quarter. Slaughter and Canaan each struck from beyond the arc. Then John Brown found his first points for a 63-53 UNICS lead. Holland insisted from downtown and Brown dunked to break the game open, 68-53, after a 10-0 run. Okoye and Albicy brought Gran Canaria within 68-60 in the next-to-last minute, but UNICS called timeout and Smith buried a jumper that sealed the outcome.
John Holland stepped up every time UNICS needed him after the break. He scored off his 14 points in the second half, making1 of 2 two-pointers and 4 of 6 three-pointers plus 3 rebounds, 3 assists and a foul drawn for a PIR of 16.
Gran Canaria got within 58-53 on a three-pointer by A.J. Slaughter. Isaiah Canaan and John Holland each answered from beyond the arc and John Brown, who had been scoreless until then, added a put-back layup and a fast break slam. That 10-0 run boosted UNICS's lead to 68-53, more than enough to control the game in the final 5 minutes.
UNICS pulled down a season-high 19 offensive rebounds, which was its best since October 2018. UNICS also forced Gran Canaria into 18 turnovers, while committing just 8. All those extra possessions made the difference in the game.
Both teams return to 7DAYS EuroCup action next week - on Wednesday, January 27. UNICS visits Mornar Bar. And Gran Canaria hosts MoraBanc Andorra.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021