Unics Kazan survived a scare, holding off a rally by Stelmet Zielona Gora in 90-86 on Wednesday, moving on into the semifinals of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds at Sleuyter Arena in Ostend, Belgium. Unics next plays Hapoel Jerusalem on Thursday night, with both teams now only two wins away from a place in the Euroleague regular season. Unics grabbed control in the first quarter behind Curtis Jerrells and Keith Langford, and spent most of the first half with a double-digit lead. Unics held 46-32 at halftime, but Steve Burtt Jr. fueled Zielona Gora’s 1-11 spurt to open the third quarter, and Adam Hrycaniuk and Quinton Hosley helped tie the game at 52-52. Despite Unics answering with a 9-0 run, and re-building a 10-point advantage, Zielona Gora made another run behind Burtt and Daniel Johnson, coming within a single point three times in the final minute of the contest. However, Kostas Kaimakoglou and Jerrells hit all of their free throws, and Unics never relinquished the lead to move on to the Thursday’s semifinals. Jerrells and Langford, who was Alphonso Ford Top Scorer Trophy winner last season, led Unics with 22 points apiece. Viktor Sanikidze added 13 points, and Kaimakoglou had 12 points plus 9 rebounds. Burtt finished the game with 30 points, Daniel Johnson had 16, while Adam Hrycaniuk and Lukasz Koszarek each scored 13 in defeat.
In the opening 5 minutes of the game teams combined for 5 three-pointers. Lukasz Koszarek and Przemyslaw Zamojski hit for Zielona Gora, while Kostas Kaimakoglou dished assists for triples from Jerrells and Langford, while nailing one from downtown himself as Unics grabbed 11-6. D'or Fischer finished a fastbreak with a dunk-plus-foul to extend the lead, and with another triple from Langford and a jumper from Nikos Zisis margin went up to 21-10. Steve Burtt Jr. hit a triple of his own to keep Zielona Gora at 23-13 after the first quarter, and scored 4 more points early in the second to stop Unics from extending the lead. However, baskets from Sergey Bykov and Fischer made it 33-19. Chevon Troutman countered with a put-back, and Koszarek nailed a jumper and a triple for Zielona Gora, but a Jerrells a pair from downtown of his own, making it 46-32 at halftime.
The start of the second quarter belonged to Zielona Gora. Burtt scored 9 points, including a triple for 47-43, before Koszarek followed him with a triple of his own. Hrycaniuk scored an easy layup to cut the deficit to 50-48, and back-to-back buckets from Quinton Hosley tied the game at 52-52. But Jerrells nailed a triple, ending a 4-18 spurt, and starting a run of 9 unanswered point by Unics. Viktor Sanikidze raced for a fastbreak dunk, and Zisis hit a three-pointer for 61-52. Unics entered into the fourth quarter up 64-54, but Zielona Gora made another run with Hrycaniuk and Daniel Johnson combining to score 10 points in two and a half minutes to get their team within 67-64. But Langford nailed a triple, and had a huge fastbreak dunk to help Unics pull away again, 74-66 midway through the fourth quarter. Jerrells and Langford held Unics with the lead, but Burtt and Johnson kept Zielona Gora in the game, with Johnson making an alley-oop layup, and Burtt hitting a three-pointer 82-81 with 50 seconds to go. But Sanikidze scored a layup, and Kaimakoglou and Jerrells made free throws to send Unics into the semifinals.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014