UNICS downs Brescia for fifth straight win
UNICS Kazan registered its fifth consecutive win by downing Germani Brescia Leonessa 77-63 on Wednesday night. The win improved UNICS to 5-1 to remain atop Group C, while Brescia dropped to 3-3 on the season. UNICS's win by 14 points also wins any potential tiebreaker against Brescia. The teams traded leads often until the midway point of the third quarter when Errick McCollum and Alex Tyus helped the hosts pull away before Jamar Smith sealed the deal in the fourth quarter. McCollum netted 20 points in the victory, Smith finished with 19 while Tyus collected 14 points and 7 rebounds for UNICS. Luca Vitali scored 14 points, and David Moss scored 11 for Brescia.
UNICS opened the game with triples from McCollum, Valerii Likhodei and Haukur Palsson before a layup-plus-foul from Tyus made it 14-6. But Vitali scored 8 points for the visitors and a triple from Horton capped a 0-7 run to cut it to 14-13. David Moss hit a three-pointer late in the first and an acrobatic layup from Angelo Warne to start the second quarter put Brescia up 20-21. The teams traded baskets and Vitali hit a triple for the visitors, but Smith hit a pair for UNICS to make it 30-26. The visitors erased the deficit helped by jumpers from Vitali and Moss, but Smith's third triple made it 37-34 at halftime. The scoring picked up early in the third quarter, with jumpers from Landsdown and Moss restoring Brescia's lead, 39-40. McCollum and Tyus combined to score 11 points, including McCollum's step-back triple, helping the hosts open a 52-44 advantage. McCollum's triple-plus-foul extended it to 56-47 and his buzzer-beater made it 59-51 at the end of the third quarter. Raymar Morgan and Artem Klimenko extended it to 65-53 as the hosts held Brescia without a field goal for almost 4 minutes to start the fourth quarter. Moss hit a corner three, but Klimenko had an easy dunk and Smith hit back-to-back triples to make it 73-58 with 4 minutes to go, putting the game out of reach.
Defense does it
UNICS allowed just 29 points in the second half and 63 for the game, its lowest total in a game this season. UNICS forced 16 turnovers, which is a big difference compared to the 4 turnovers that Brescia committed when these two teams met in Round 1, a clash that Brescia won 84-75.
Jamar gets hot, again
Of Jamar Smith's 19 points, 11 came in the second quarter and 8 during a 2-minute span of the fourth to extend the margin from 67-58 to 75-61 and put the game out of reach. Smith, who now is shooting 62.5% on three-pointers for the season, made 5 of 6 from long range and with 179 career triples has moved into third place on the all-time list of three-pointers made.
Knocking on the Top 16 door
UNICS has all but mathematically secured a place in the Top 16. It will qualify with one more win in the last four regular-season games.
This was the ninth consecutive regular-season home win for UNICS, a streak that dates back to Round 8 of the 2017-18 season.
Next week in Round 7, UNICS travels to face Olimpija Cedevita Ljubljana, while Brescia will play at home against Joventut Badalona.
Wednesday, November 6, 2019