McCollum buzzer-beater moves UNICS atop
UNICS Kazan survived a thriller in Istanbul as it beat hosting Darussafaka Tefken by 77-79 thanks to a game-winner buzzer-beater pull-up jumper by Errick McCollum, right after Doron Lamb missed a couple of free throws with a tie in the score. UNICS remain as the sole leader of 7DAYS Eurocup Group C with a 4-1 record, leaving Darussafaka, Joventut Badalona and Germani Brescia Leonessa behind, all of them with 3-2. Raymar Morgan led all UNICS Kazan scorers with 18 points, on 6-8 from the free throw line, followed with Alex Tyus with 12. Jamar Smith added another 12 plus 5 assists and Mantzaris had 11 points and 5 assists for the winners. Jonathan Hamilton posted 14 points and 8 rebounds for the home team, while Doron Lamb and Bonzie Colson added 12 apiece and Gary Browne 10 more for the losing side.
No team was able to take control of the game in the early going, as there were as many as nine lead changes during the first nine minutes. A 0-6 run behind 4 points of Kostas Kaimakoglu entering the last minute allowed UNICS to finish the first quarter ahead, 21-26. The visitors kept rocking after the break with Jamar Smith feeding Raymar Morgan and Evgeny Kolesnikov for a layup and a triple respectively to extend the lead to double digits, 21-31. But the home team didn’t panic, as a great defensive display forced a Russian blackout for the following seven minutes. Five points in a row by Bonzie Colson capped a 16-2 run that returned the lead back to Darussafaka, 37-33, with 2 minutes remaining. Even though Morgan tried to wake his team up, the Turks kept a 39-37 edge at halftime.
The balance remained in the third quarter. Darussafaka held short leads, never larger than 5 points, taking advantage of the free throw line to add easy points. Morgan tied the game 51-51 right before Vangelis Mantzaris, Kolesnikov and Errick McCollum joined him on a 0-8 run that brought UNICS back in front, 57-62, after 29 minutes. A late three from Jarrod Jones finished a 3-minute draught of Darussafaka and made it 60-62 at the end of the third period. The Turks increased their defensive effort in the beginning of the last quarter and kept UNICS scoreless for 3 minutes, good for getting back the lead, 65-62. The margin grew up to 6 points until Smith and Mantzaris nailed back-to-back treys to tie the game, 70-70, with less than 5 minutes to go. Morgan tied it again twice from the free throw line to enter the last half-minute 77-77. Lamb missed a couple of free throws with 12 second to go and gave McCollum the opportunity of having the last possession, that he didn’t waste
No mercy from the MVP
Rounf 4 MVP Errick McCollum wasn’t having a great game tonight. He was just 6 points entering the last minute, on a 2-to-8 field goal shooting card, but when the ball came to his hands in the last possession, he didn’t doubt and hit the game-winner for his team.
The first time
Darussafaka and UNICS have met just twice before in the 7DAYS Eurocup, with the Turks always prevailing. The Russians broke the trend in the last second, earning their fourth win a row in Group C and climbing atop of the standings.
Strength in boards
Darussafaka led the competition in rebounds. Matching their physicality inside was expected to be a key point in for UNICS tonight, and it was. They outrebounded Darussafaka 36-32 and left the Wolkswagen Arena with a win.
In Round 6 next week both teams play at home on Wednesday. Darussafaka Tefken Istanbul will host winless Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana (0-5), while UNICS Kazan will look for revenge on visiting Germani Brescia Leonessa (3-2).
Wednesday, October 30, 2019