Darussafaka clinches Group A top spot with win in Kazan
Darussafaka Istanbul erased a 13-point third-quarter deficit and went on to beat UNICS Kazan 75-79 and wrap up first place in Group A. Darussafaka bounced back from its only loss of the season by completing a sweep of UNICS to improve to 7-1 while dropping the hosts, who have also clinched a berth in the Top 16, to 5-3. Stanton Kidd scored 7 points in a 0-12 third-quarter run that brought Darussafaka back from 13 down and the visitors got 11 points from Scottie Wilbekin in the final six minutes to soar to victory. Wilbekin finished with 19 points and 5 assists, Kidd scored 11 and James Bell, Will Cummings and JaJuan Johnson each netted 10. Stephane Lasme led six UNICS scorers in double figures with 18 points and 6 blocks; Quino Colom tallied 16 points, 5 assists and 5 steals; Maurice Ndour debuted with 11 points and 7 rebounds and Jamar Smith, Trent Lockett and Melvin Ejim scored 10 each in defeat.
Ejim scored 5 in an early 10-0 run that gave the hosts a 12-5 lead. Wilbekin ended the drought with a floater, but Ejim’s second three extended the margin and Ndour’s first EuroCup basket pushed the advantage to double figures. Lasme knocked down a three for a 13-point cushion, but Wilbekin’s step-back three made it 26-16 after 10 minutes. Darussafaka found some momentum with a three-point play by Furkan Aldemir and a Johnson triple to rally back to within 4. While Darussafaka’s defense continued to stifle UNICS, Michael Eric’s basket-plus foul got the visitors within 33-30. Colom free throws helped the hosts take a 38-32 lead into halftime.
In the first three minutes of the second half, Eric committed 3 fouls and UNICS – through a Ndour triple and Colom three-point play – regained a double-digit lead. Colom fed Lasme for an alley-oop as the hosts assumed
total control. Lasme free throws made it 55-42, but Darussafaka stormed back as Kidd scored 7 points in a 0-12 charge to get within a single possession. After Colom free throws and a Johnson put-back slam, the third quarter ended at 57-56. Cummings’s baseline layup to start the fourth quarter gave Darussafaka its first lead since the opening minutes. Johnson added an alley-oop dunk that silenced the arena. Lasme free throws put UNICS back ahead, 63-62, but Wilbekin countered with a deep three. Cummings sank a floater for a 6-point Darussafaka edge with less than four minutes to play. Kidd finished an alley-oop for an 8-point lead with two minutes remaining, however Colom answered with a triple and UNICS battled back for a chance to tie it down the stretch. With the game on the line, Colom missed from deep and Johnson iced the win from the line.
Wednesday, December 13, 2017