| Unics Kazan started its Eurocup Last 16 adventure on the right foot with a 67-64 come-from-behind win over Gran Canaria 2014 in Group I. A 13-3 run in the fourth quarter fueled by a regained long-range shooting touch and a Hasan Rizvic block of a desperate Jaycee Carroll triple attempt in the closing moments were key for the victory. Ricky Minard paced Kazan with 16 points, while Maciej Lampe and Rizvic added 12 each, with the latter also grabbing 9 rebounds. Gran Canaria led for most of the game, but could not come through at the end despite 22 points from Carroll on 6-of-10 three-point shooting, and 9 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists from CJ Wallace. Kazan will travel next week to face Cedevita in Zagreb, while Gran Canaria hosts Hemofarm Stada.
Terrell Lyday scored the first basket of the game and Wallace got Gran Canaria going with a layup and a triple for a 7-7 start that featured the big guns, as Carroll matched his teammates’ production and Minard notched a layup and a three-pointer to close the first quarter at 16-16. The defenses tightened in the second quarter after Jim Moran put the visitors ahead 20-21 with a triple and neither team was able to muster a field goal for over four minutes, with Unics whiffing on 5 of its first 6 three-point attempts. Sitapha Savane and Lampe finally traded baskets to make it 23-25 and Zakhar Pashutin and Kelly McCarty got Kazan a brief lead before Gran Canaria finished the half strong with Wallace, Carroll and Spencer Nelson buckets, entering the break with their biggest margin of the game, at 28-32.
The hosts were still cold from beyond the arc to start the third quarter, and so went to Minard inside for a dunk to keep pace with Carroll as the game’s top scorer after Carroll hit his third triple of the night, and then a jumper for a 37-39 Gran Canaria advantage. Kazan moved the ball efficiently on offense however, getting Lampe more involved with consecutive layups. But Carroll was on fire, netting his fourth three for his 16th point midway through the quarter and establishing the largest difference to that point at 37-44. Unics did not panic despite the guard’s hot hand and kept going inside. A Pashutin penetration broke the spell and center Rizvic netted consecutive baskets that fueled a 0-6 run to finish the quarter at 43-44. Moran converted his second three of the night to give Gran Canaria a 47-49 edge, but Unics finally found the bottom of the net from beyond the arc, as Lyday, Minard and Pashutin triples sandwiched a couple of Minard field goals and suddenly the hosts were in the driver’s seat at 60-52 with five minutes left after a 13-3 run. Carroll found his long-range shooting touch again when his team needed a spark, and Taurean Green joined the fest with a triple to close the gap to 62-58 before a Wallace layup and Michael Bramos jumper tied the score at 62-62 with two minutes left. Lampe came up big in crunch time for the hosts, scoring a two pointer and converting twice from the line, as Wallace missed an attempt to tie it and then committed a costly turnover. Bramos was able to close in at 64-62 after Nelson stole the ball from Minard with few ticks left on the clock and Lyday left the door open at 67-64 after splitting a pair of free throws. Everyone in the building expected the ball to go to the hot-handed Carroll for the final chance, and Rizvic was no exception, as the center rushed to block his three-point attempt and close the lid on a hard-fought come-from-behind win for Kazan.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011