Group I champion PGE Turow Zgorzelec showed it is ready for major challenges in the upcoming ULEB Cup elimination rounds by edging Unics Kazan 73-68 in Liberec, the Czech Republic on Tuesday night. Turow improved to 8-1 and has a good chance to enter the elimination rounds with one of the best regular season records in the competition. Meanwhile, Unics dropped to 4-5 and will need to beat EiffelTowers Den Bosch in Kazan next week to make it to the next round. Marko Scekic paced the winners with 16 points. David Logan added 14 while Thomas Kelati became the game hero by scoring 5 critical points in crunch time. Robert Witka also had 10 points for Turow. Darjus Lavrinovic, Sergei Chikalkin and Dusko Savanovic each had 13 points for Unics, that led 45-52 late in the third quarter. Witka and Logan fueled a 13-0 run that gave Turow a 58-52 edge, but an outstanding Savanovic kept Unics in the game, while Tariq Kirksay made free throws for a 67-68 edge with less than 2 minutes to go. Kelati shined with a go-ahead basket and soon stroke from downtown to seal the outcome, 72-68, as Unics did not recover.
Chikalkin got Unics going with consecutive baskets for a 2-5 early lead. Andres Rodriguez fed Logan for an easy basket and then stroke twice from downtown to give Turow its first lead, 10-9. Jerry McCullough and Slobodan Ljubotina joined the three-point shootout but a dominant Lavrinovic put Unics back ahead, 13-16. Kelati found his first points to bring Turow within 15-16 after 10 minutes. Turow kept struggling to score early in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Nikolai Padius scored while Savanovic hit a jumper for a 17-20 Unics edge. Witka stepped up for Turow while Iwo Kitzinger scored off a steal for a 23-20 edge. Chikalkin scored again while Padius made Unics regain the lead, 23-25. Harding Nana and Scekic fueled a 9-2 Turow run but a buzzer-beating triple by Chikalkin brought Unics within 32-31 at the break. Tusek and McCullough led a 0-6 run that made Unics restore a 32-37 edge after the break. Drobnjak and Logan brought Turow within 38-39, but Lavrinovic and Tusek gave Unics some fresh air at 38-43. Chikalkin and Savanovic took over late in the third quarter to gave Unics a seven-point lead, 45-52. Witka beat the buzzer for a 47-52 Turow deficit after 30 minutes. Turow improved its defense early in the fourth quarter while another triple by Logan tied it at 52-52. Unics could not find the way to the basket while free throws by Scekic and a triple by Witka gave Turow a 58-52 edge, after a 13-0 run. Savanovic stepped up with 7 quick points to keep Unics within 60-59. Kelati buried a three-pointer and Scekic hit free thows but McCullough and Tusek fueled a 0-7 run that Savanovic capped with a put-back basket for a 65-66 Unics edge. Free throws by Kirksay gave Unics its last lead, 67-68. Kelati followed the go-ahead basket with a key triple to seal the outcome, 72-68, in the final minute.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008