Harrison fires Galatasaray past UNICS
Galatasaray Doga Sigorta Istanbul got back to winning ways, leading for all but two possessions the entire night en route to a 90-76 win over visiting UNICS Kazan at Sinan Erdem Dome on Wednesday night. Both teams now hold 2-2 records in Group G, but UNICS captured the head-to-head tiebreak advantage over Galatasaray due to its 25-point win last week. The hosts took control and opened a double-digit lead in the first quarter before using a series of Aaron Harrison three-pointers and extending the margin to a game-high 15 points midway through the second. UNICS clawed to within 61-56 late in the third and 72-69 in the fourth quarter, but Harrison and Tai Webster hit from long range to give the hosts breathing room and help them secure victory. Harrison netted 28 points on 8-for-17 three-point shooting. Webster scored 19 points, Goksenin Koksal had 18 points plus 7 rebounds, while Zach Auguste collected 11 points plus 10 rebounds. Errick McCollum paced UNICS with 24 points and Alex Tyus scored 13 points, both playing against their former team. Raymar Morgan added 11 points in a losing effort.
Hakur Palsson and Harrison exchanged threes early before Galatasaray went on an 8-0 run that included Webster's layup-plus and a second-chance corner three from Ayberk Olmaz to lead 17-7. Harrison assisted Olmaz for a huge dunk before trading triples with Jamar Smith to make it 22-10. The hosts kept a double-digit margin by dominating the offensive glass. Jordan Theodore and Morgan scored from close range to cut the deficit and get UNICS within 27-19 at the start of the second quarter. But Harrison hit a triple and Auguste made a put-back dunk to lead 34-19 with 6 minutes left in the half. McCollum drove the lane for a three-point play and UNICS kept getting to the free-throw line the rest of the half, but Harrison hit back-to-back threes to keep Galatasaray's advantage intact and Webster hit a triple of his own as the hosts led 49-35 at halftime.
McCollum and Harrison each had 5 points to start the third quarter, including a triple apiece, before Tyus had a basket-plus-foul to cut the margin to single digits 56-47. Koksal answered with a jumper and a triple on the other end, but Valerii Likhodei had a pair of close-range baskets in a 0-9 run that got UNICS within 61-56. Galatasaray replied with a 7-1 run, capped by Koksal's three-point play that made it 68-57 after 30 minutes. Alex Poythress scored twice inside to open the fourth. McCollum nailed a triple and Jordan Theodore and Tyus converted fastbreak baskets. UNICS did not allow a single point for almost 5 minutes and Palsson's corner triple cut the deficit to 72-69. However, Webster ended Galatasaray's scoring drought with a three-pointer and Harrison hit his seventh long-range shot to make it 79-71 with 3 minutes left. Galatasaray used free throws to restore a double-digit lead and secure the outcome.
Aaron Harrison set Galatasaray club records with 8 threes on 17 attempts. No player had scored 8 or more triples in a EuroCup game in almost two years since Scottie Wilbekin hit 10 for Darussafaka Istanbul in the 2018 EuroCup semifinals. Harrison's 17 attempts are tied for fourth-most all-time and the most in a single game in more than three years.
Unlikely scoring source
In his first career start, 23-year old center Ayberk Olmaz gave Galatasaray a key push. He scored all of his 7 points in the first quarter, almost matching his season total. He had five previous appearances this season and entered the game with 10 points, all in one game.
Offensive rebounds made the difference for Galatasaray, especially early on. The hosts had 7 offensive boards in the first quarter alone. Galatasaray finished with 15-9 advantage on the offensive glass, and 41-26 in total rebounds.
Errick McCollum and Alex Tyus returned to Sinan Erdem Dome to face their former team. It was a special occasion for McCollum who was the EuroCup MVP when he led Galatasaray to the 2016 EuroCup title. The two were UNICS's top two scorers on the night, combining for 37 points, one short of half of all UNICS points.
Next week in Top 16 Round 5, both teams will be at home on Wednesday, February 5. UNICS will host Rytas Vilnius, while Galatasaray will welcome AS Monaco.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020