| Unics Kazan became the first team to clinch a ticket to the Eurocup quarterfinals with an impressive 90-72 home victory on Tuesday night over Hemofarm Stada. The victory is the seventh in a row for Kazan, which improved to 4-0 in the Last 16. Hemofarm fall to 1-3 with the loss and will need to battle it out against Cedevita and Gran Canaria for the final qualifying spot in Group I after suffering its third straight defeat. Kazan’s victory was cemented in a 14-3 first-quarter run that made it 32-17 after 10 minutes and Hemofarm never recovered. Maciej Lampe scored 19 points for the hosts and led all scorers, while Ricky Minard and Vladimir Veremeenko added 12 and 11 points, respectively, and Marko Popovic and Kelly McCarty tallied 10 apiece for the winners. Hemofarm suffered a poor shooting night overall, hitting only 44% of its two-point field goals against a tight Kazan defense that produced 21 turnovers. Milos Borisov paced the visiting attack with 16 points, Mladen Jeremic added 12 and Mustafa Abdul-Hamid 11. Milivoje Bozovic also tallied 8 points and 10 rebounds. Kazan will travel to play Gran Canaria next week in Las Palmas with a chance to clinch first place in the group, while Hemofarm will play on the road at Adriatic League foe Cedevita Zagreb in Croatia.
Kazan’s first basket was a triple from McCarty that sparked a 9-3 start, a sign of things to come from the home side. While Kazan set up nicely inside with Lampe, Hemofarm started manufacturing good perimeter looks, and the opening quarter had a nice scoring flow, as Jeremic’s two-pointer scored it 15-12 and both teams showed plenty of shooting touch. It was Kazan who pulled away though, as Terrell Lyday got going on the offensive end and even Lampe hit from beyond the arc to fuel a 14-3 run to close the period at a 32-17 Kazan advantage. The hosts kept their foot on the pedal in the second quarter and upped their defensive pressure on a Hemofarm team that committed 11 first-half turnovers. Trying to set up a low-post game with big man Jerome Jordan after Abdul-Hamid hit his first long-range bomb, the visitors struggled to get into a rhythm offensively while having their own problems on the defensive glass, as Kazan amassed 7 offensive boards before halftime, en route to a 52-31 advantage at the break.
The drought continued in the second half for the visitors, who could not contain the one-two punch of Lampe and Minard and saw the former make it 61-35 with a dunk. Jordan answered for Hemofarm by attacking the offensive glass and producing second-chance opportunities, but turnovers continued to plague Hemofarm, who entered the final quarter at a 69-49 disadvantage after a Jeremic triple. Kazan’s command on the scoreboard was a direct result of its superiority in the paint and the glass, and the trend continued through the closing period. With a relentless defensive effort that contested a good amount of Hemofarm shots and pushed the visitors to excessive one-on-one play, the Russian side cruised to the end of the game. Veremeenko notched double digit scoring numbers with his team’s first 5 points of the quarter and a couple of Popovic three-pointers kept Hemofarm at bay, as Ivan Maras’s counter from beyond the arc was only able to score it 80-50 with 5 minutes to go. The visitors tried to reduce the margin but Kazan never let up and Hemofarm was unable to get any closer than 18 points the rest of the way, and that was thanks to another Jeremic three-pointer in the waning seconds.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011