| Gran Canaria defeated Unics Kazan 76-73 on Tuesday night at the Centro Insular de Deportes in a win that meant little to the hosts, but prevented the visitors from clinching first place in Group I. Kazan dropped it first game in the Last 16, but can still clinch first place and home-court advantage in the total-points quarterfinals with a win or minimal loss next week against s Cedevita. Gran Canaria improved to 2-3 in Group I, but lost its last chances to reach the quarterfinals when Cedevita beat Hemofarm earlier Tuesday. Jaycee Carroll paced the winners with 16 points and Taurean Green added 13, while CJ Wallace scored 12 and Javier Beiran added 11 to go with 11 rebounds. Kazan enjoyed a productive night from Ricky Minard and Maciej Lampe, who scored 19 and 11 points, respectively, with the latter adding 8 boards, but that was not enough for head coach Evgeny Pashutin’s side. Terrell Lyday also netted 10 points, all in the first half.
Unics was in a position of power from the start, despite Carroll scoring his team’s first 8 points. The visitors tried establishing Minard and Lampe inside early but settled on controlling the boards, finishing the first quarter with a 5-14 rebounding edge that allowed Lyday to run the floor. The high-scoring guard attacked the basket often, getting to the line and assuring his team stayed on top, 12-14, entering the second quarter, even as Michael Bramos got into the offensive mix for the hosts with a late three-pointer. The guard stayed active in the second quarter, getting Gran Canaria the lead back with a dunk after Carroll had scored the quarter’s first bucket. All in all, it was a 10-0 run by the hosts to surpass the group leaders, 18-14, before Zakhar Pashutin and Beiran traded three-pointers and Lyday tied the game at 25 with a layup. Green entered the game and gave the home side a boost with 10 points in the quarter. The pace quickened, with Gran Canaria trying to hit the homerun ball with a barrage of triples and Kazan settling more on mid-rangers and riding Lyday’s 10 first-half points into the break, reached at a 43-38 advantage for the hosts.
Intent on giving their home fans something to cheer about, the Gran Canaria players kept pressing in the third quarter, going off on a 9-2 run to start the half and attacking Kazan’s defense with aggressive penetration and kick-backs. Beiran shook loose for a triple that gave him 10 points for the game and gave his team a 57-43 lead midway through the quarter and Spencer Nelson got some inside touches, as Pedro Martinez’s crew cleaned up its rebound disadvantage some. Despite Gran Canaria’s push, Kazan held on by taking better care of the basketball, manufacturing close looks at the rim and countering with Lampe’s paint presence. As Bramos scored on a layup to reach the fourth quarter at 62-51 for the hosts, the game felt as wide open as ever. Play seemed to slow down in the final stanza, with both teams looking to find a rhythm that suited their respective strengths. Minard dropped a couple of inside moves to start the quarter and a Carroll turnover and foul allowed Petr Samoylenko to cash a triple that made it a one-possession game at 64-61. With Gran Canaria suddenly cold from the perimeter, Kazan smelled blood and showed off its bite. Lampe and Minard combined to score three straight baskets against the tiring home frontcourt and put the visitors back in the driver’s seat at 66-67 before a CJ Wallace beyond-the-arc bomb tied the game at 69-69 with two minutes left. Gran Canaria came out of the ensuing timeout with renewed life and a sense of defensive purpose that resulted in a Lampe close-range miss, a defensive rebound and a big-time block by Bramos on Samoylenko that allowed Wallace to get the hosts the lead back from the line. Xavi Rey then split a pair of free throws and Wallace tacked on another to make it 73-69 with less than a minute left. Samoylenko closed the gap again with a layup , but it was too little, too late for the group leaders, as Carroll iced the game from the line and gave Gran Canaria a much-deserved win.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011