UNICS charge back for first win
UNICS Kazan came back from a double-digit third-quarter deficit to pick up its first victory of the 7DAYS EuroCup season by defeating Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana 80-67 at home on Wednesday. UNICS trailed by 13 points with 4 minutes left in the third quarter but were carried to the win by Jamar Smith with 21 points, while Alex Tyus had 13 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks. Errick McCollum added 11 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists as UNICS moved to 1-1 in Group C. Marko Simonovic had 13 points and Ryan Boatright had 11 points as Olimpija dropped to 0-2.
Kostas Kaimakoglou opened the scoring for the hosts but Edo Muric picked up 5 points as Olimpija went on an 0-9 run. It was 4-13 before McCollum finally scored the second basket for the hosts. Tyus followed with 5 points including a steal and dunk as the hosts were within 12-15 after 10 minutes. Smith and Evgeny Kolesnikov added triples for the home side to lead 24-22 before Filip Kruslin and Mikael Hopkins combined on three long balls for Olimpija to take a 28-31 advantage. Smith answered with 2 baskets at the other end and the hosts were up 38-35 at the break. Olimpija had a strong start to the second half, with Blazic scoring 5 points in an 0-9 run for a 38-44 lead. McCollum finally got UNICS on the scoreboard but the guests used the long ball to open a big lead. Boatright hit 2 three-pointers – the second being converted for a four-point play – and Simonovic also hit from long range for a 43-56 cushion. UNICS fought back into the game thanks to three-balls from Smith and Kolesnikov to make it 55-60 after 30 minutes. The UNICS run continued in the fourth quarter, with Pavel Sergeev's three-pointer knotting it at 60-60 and Smith pushing the hosts ahead 62-60. Simonovic snapped a four-minute scoreless stretch for Olimpija but Smith picked up 5 points and Tyus scored 6 straight in an 15-3 surge to go up 77-65 and decide the game.
Jamar Smith came off the UNICS bench and really picked up his game when his team needed it most. After the hosts fell behind by 13 points in the third quarter, Smith scored 12 of his game high 21 points. For the game, Smith made 6-of-7 shots from two-point range and 3-of-4 three-pointers while also collecting 6 assists and 2 steals without a turnover, all for a PIR of 29.
First game of season
UNICS was helped in this game by the return of Kostas Kaimakoglou, who missed the opening EuroCup contest but contributed 9 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists.
UNICS shot 68.8 percent from inside the three-point line while holding Olimpija to just 37.2 percent on two-point shots. The guests also hurt themselves by making just 5-of-10 free throws.
UNICS head back on the road and look for a second victory as it faces Nanterre 92 on Wednesday, October 16. Olimpija will look to finally grab its first win as it heads to Italy to take on Germani Brescia Leonessa the same night.
Wednesday, October 9, 2019