UNICS escape Panathinaikos with narrow win
UNICS Kazan collected its first road victory of the season by prevailing 72-74 in a back-and-forth game at Panathinaikos OPAP Athens. The contest was tight throughout with 8 points being the biggest lead. But Lorenzo Brown knocked down the game-winning jumper with 19 seconds left to give UNICS a 4-5 record. Brown finished with 13 points while Andrey Vorontsevich and Isaiah Canaan both scored 15 points and Mario Hezonja chipped in 9 points and 4 rebounds in his return to Athens to face his former team. Panathinaikos dropped its third straight game to fall to 2-7. Georgios Papagiannis collected 14 points and 17 rebounds, while Daryl Macon Jr. scored 14 points, Kendrick Perry had 10 points and Ioannis Papapetrou tallied 10 points - though the Greens captain missed a three-pointer at the buzzer at the end of a poorly-executed offense.
Hezonja opened the game with a free throw for the guests. It would be a while until UNICS would score again with Okaro White scoring 4 points and Papapetrou hitting a three-pointer for a 9-1 lead. OJ Mayo answered with a three-pointer for UNICS’s first basket after more than 5 minutes play. Lorenzo Brown followed from deep and Tonye Jekiri finished a 0-6 spurt to give the visitors their first lead 13-15. The game was even 15-15 after 10 minutes.
After Canaan opened the second quarter with a three-pointer for UNICS, Panathinaikos put together a 9-1 run with a Howard Sant-Roos triple for a 24-19 advantage. Vorontsevich snapped the 4-minute stretch without a basket with a three-pointer and Marco Spissu added a three-point play to make it 26-25. Macon nailed 2 three-pointers for the hosts, but Vorontsevich countered with a three-point play and triple. Still it was Panathinaikos ahead at the break, 36-35.
Papagiannis opened the second half for the hosts, but Canaan converted 3 free throws and Lorenzo Brown drained a triple as UNICS went up 38-41. White answered with an and-one only to see Canaan score 5 points at the other end for a 43-48 cushion. Panathinaikos punched back with the next 6 points to reclaim the lead and Papapetrou drained a three-pointer at the buzzer of the third quarter to knot the game 54-54 after 30 minutes.
Perry opened the final frame with a three-pointer and he added free throws to put Panathinaikos up 61-58. UNICS went back ahead with Brown and Hezonja draining three-pointers to make it 63-65. Perry stepped up with another triple to put Panathinaikos back ahead. After Papagiannis scored for a 70-68 lead, Canaan hit a reverse layup and Hezonja nailed free throws with 95 seconds left for a 70-72 edge. After Jeremy Evans's free throws evened the game again, Lorenzo Brown knocked down a jumper with 19 seconds left to put UNICS back ahead, 72-74. Panathinaikos did not execute a play in its final offense and Papapetrou’s three-pointer was off the mark as UNICS escaped with a victory.
Pivotal performer: Canaan conquers Greens off the bench
Isaiah Canaan played an outstanding game off the UNICS bench. The 30-year-old guard played nearly 30 minutes and scored 15 points - hitting 3 of 5 two-pointers and 2 of 5 on three-pointers and all three of his free throw attempts. Canaan grabbed 1 rebound and dished out a season-high 5 assists. He committed just 1 turnover - the fourth straight game he lost just one ball in the game. And he played a major role with his excellent energy.
Major double-double from Papagiannis
Georgios Papagiannis came up with a big double-double in the loss. He connected on 7 of 12 shots in scoring a season-high 14 points. The Panathinaikos big man also grabbed 17 rebounds - to set a new career-high. Seven of those were offensive rebounds, setting another personal best mark for Papagiannis. It was the second double-double for him this season following the 12 points and 10 rebounds against Anadolu Efes Istanbul in Round 6.
Telling numbers: UNICS by an edge
Not only was the final score close but so too were the game’s stats. UNICS Kazan committed 1 fewer turnover - 13-12; made 2 more three-pointers 7-9; and converted 2 more free throws 11-13 - than Panathinaikos. But the Greens can be happy about a couple of stats. Panathinaikos was one of only five teams shooting below 50.0% on two-pointers but shot 54.1% on those attempts. And the hosts took the second-chance points stat 16 to 6. But it was UNICS that won the game.
Thursday, November 11, 2021