Unics sweeps Maccabi, claims eighthfinals ticket
Unics Kazan booked its place in the eighthfinals with 78-68 win over Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv on Wednesday. Unics swept Maccabi, improving to 4-0 in the first place of Group N, and has a two game lead ahead of Maccabi and Nizhny Novgorod who still have to play each other. Maccabi dropped to 2-2, in a share of the second place. Unics took control in the first quarter with a 14-2 run, and after Maccabi erased the deficit, a run just before halftime gave Unics 43-32 lead at the break. Maccabi tied it at 50-50 after a three-pointer by Devin Smith late in the third quarter. However, Anton Ponkrashov hit three three-pointers, leading Unics’ charge in the fourth, opening 71-56 lead, paving the way to victory. Keith Langford paced Unics with 20 points and 9 rebounds. Ponkrashov finished with 15 points and 5 assists, Latavious Williams scored 12 with 8 rebounds, and Kostas Kaimakoglou added 11 with 3 steals in victory. Sylven Landesberg scored 10 of his 16 points in the final five minutes for Maccabi, and pulled down 11 rebounds. Trevor Mbakwe amassed 15 points plus 12 rebounds, while Smith scored 11 in defeat.
Triples from Smith and Taylor Rochesite, and a put-back from Ike Ofoegbu helped Maccabi to a slim early lead, 9-12. But a pair of baskets from Langford, who had 8 points in the first 6 minutes, put Unics in front, before a corner triple from Arturas Milaknis capped a 14-2 run, giving the hosts 22-14 advantage. Landesberg and Guy Pnini halved the gap, before Williams' put-back made it 24-18 after 10 minutes. Pnini hit a three-pointer, and had a steal that led to a Gal Mekel fastbreak layup, and 24-23. Quino Colom's runner and tenth basket from Langford kept the hosts in front, while trading buckets with Mekel and Itay Segev that made it 30-29 midway through the quarter. That's when Kaimakoglou scored on a fast break, followed by Langford's five points, and a fastbreak basket from Ponkrashov that opened a double-digit margin, and fueled a run that had Unics up 43-32 at halftime.
Smith’s triple, and a put-back-plus-foul from Segev cut the deficit to 43-38 at the start of the third quarter. Williams scored inside, and Milaknis hit from the outside for Unics to restore a double-digit margin after 3 minutes of the quarter. Neither team scored for 3 minutes before a put-back from Mbakwe. The same player had a three-point play, and Landesberg’s fastbreak score helped cut it to 48-46. Unics needed almost 5 minutes to score, and Smith hit a three-pointer to tie it at 50-50, however, Kaimakoglou and Ponkrashov made sure the hosts went into the fourth quarter with 54-50 advantage. Ponkrashov hit a three-pointer, Williams had a put-back and Langford nailed a baseline jumper to make it 61-52, forcing a Maccabi timeout. Mbakwe snapped an 11-2 spurt, but Ponkrashov hit another one from downtown, and Kaimakoglu converted a fast break. Third triple of the quarter from Ponkrashov opened 71-56 midway through the fourth. Landesberg strung together 8 points, including a three-point play and a driving layup for Maccabi, closing the gap to 73-64, but with only 1:06 to go on the clock. On the ensuing possession, however, Kaimakoglou hit a triple that sealed the game.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016