Spirou Basket stayed alive in the race to reach the Turkish Airlines Euroleague regular season through the Qualifying Rounds despite a 75-71 road loss against Unics in Kazan, Russia on Friday. Spirou won the two-way series on points differential and will keep playing next week to clinch a berth in Europe's signature club competition. Unics, that kept its chances alive until the final shot, will play the 2010-11 Eurocup. Chris Hill was the man of the game with 5 three-pointers in the second half, including the go-ahead one to win the series in the final seconds. Joseph Gomis led Spirou with 16 points. Hill added 15, Brian Greene had 12 while Demond Mallet and Brent Wright each got 11 for Spirou. Maciej Lampe led Unics with 21 points. Kelly McCarty added 18 on 10-of-10 free throws while Hasan Rizvic and Vladimir Veremeenko each had 11 for the hosts. Free throws by Igor Zamanskiy gave Unics a 75-68 edge already in the final minute but Hill downed a key triple and Marko Popovic missed a driving layup and a shot from downtown in the game's final seconds.
Unics left Popovic out of the starting five, that featuring twin point guards with Terrell Lyday and Petr Samoylenko together on court. Lampe stepped up early in the game with consecutive baskets but a jumper by Justin Hamilton and a layup by Gomis tied it at 4-4. Veremeenko shined with back-to-back layups but he picked up 3 early fouls and went to the bench midway through the first quarter. Rizvic soon allowed Unics to tie the series, 12-6. Gomis and Rizvic traded layups and free throws by McCarty and Lyday made it a double-digit game, 18-8, after 10 minutes. A layup by McCarty soon forced Spirou to call timeout at 20-8. The guests found a go-to guy in Greene, who followed a jumper with a triple for a 22-13 Spirou deficit. Mallet joined the three-point shootout, forcing Unics to call timeout. Lampe scored down low and Lyday added a layup to keep Unics ahead in the series, 26-18. Spirou kept powering the offensive board and slowing down the game tempo. Andre Riddick shined with a dunk, igniting a 0-6 run that Greene capped with a jumper for a 27-24 Spirou deficit. Lampe took over with a three-point play and followed Veremeenko's easy basket with free throws for a 35-26 Unics lead at halftime.
Gomis downed a three-pointer immediately after the break and a layup by Hamilton put Spirou back ahead in the series at 36-31. Popovic struck from downtown and a put-back layup by Veremeenko gave the hosts some fresh air at 41-31. Spirou was not done, however, as Gomis scored again and Wright added free throws. Hill and Greene buried back-to-back three-pointers for a 43-41 score, forcing Unics to call timeout. McCarty stepped up with consecutive triples but Hill answered from downtown and Gomis added a three-point play to keep Spirou within 53-49. Hill struck again from downtown to make it a one-point game, 55-54, after 30 minutes. A layup-plus-foul by Rizvic and a power basket by Lampe tied the series again, 60-54, early in the fourth quarter. Wright shined with 5 unanswered points and another triple by Hill put Unics on the ropes, 60-62, with 6 minutes to go. Lampe took over in crunch time with consecutive layups and a triple to bring the hosts back to life, 67-62. Samoylenko sank a jumper and Popovic capped an 11-0 run with free throws but back-to-back triples by Mallet gave Spirou the series' lead, 73-68, with a minute left. Zamanskiy drew a foul and calmly made free throws but Hill downed a critical triple. Popovic's driving layup was blocked by Riddick and he missed a potential series-winner shot from downtown at the buzzer.
Friday, October 1, 2010