UNICS survives battle with Bahcesehir for first win
UNICS Kazan needed all it could muster to survive a real fight for its first victory of the 7DAYS EuroCup season by fending off debutant Bahcesehir Koleji Istanbul 89-88. Jamar Smith, who won the game on a floating jumper with 3.1 seconds to play, starred with 25 points off the bench. Isaiah Canaan tallied 15 points and 7 assists, John Holland scored 13 points, Pavel Antipov 11 and John Brown chipped in 10 points and 9 rebounds as UNICS improved to 1-1. Bahcesehir lost despite Alex Perez pouring in 33 points. Erick Green picked up 14 points and Ismet Akpinar and Peyton Aldridge both scored 12 points as their team dropped to 0-2.
Perez’s three-point play opened the scoring for Bahcesehir with Brown getting UNICS's first points and Antipov's triple giving the hosts their first lead 5-3. Canaan and Georgy Zhbanov went back-to-back from long range and Antipov drained another three as the gap reached 16-9. Bahcesehir got triples from Perez and Aldridge to surge back ahead 16-17. The lead switched hands five times over the rest of the first quarter with Smith’s second triple making it 26-25 after 10 minutes. UNICS had the better start to the second quarter with Canaan and Evgeny Kolesnikov both putting back offensive rebounds to push the margin to 32-25. Akpinar finally scored for Bahcesehir after more than 2 minutes with a three-pointer and then a layup to cut the deficit to 2. Smith responded with a triple and layup of his own and Brown chipped in 4 straight points as the hosts increased the advantage to 43-34. Bahcesehir showed it wasn't going away with a Jamal Jones triple and Perez three-point play among 8 points in less than a minute to close it to 43-42. Smith once again punched back with a triple only to see Aldridge drain a three-pointer and tip-in a miss at the buzzer to make it 48-47 at the break.
Perez’s three-pointer opened the second half and gave Bahcesehir the lead again. But Holland drained 2 three-pointers and Canaan had a triple and three-point play in a 14-2 run for a 62-52 cushion. Hadi Ozdemir came up with a three-point play for the guests, but Pavel Sergeev and Smith hit triples at the other end and UNICS led 70-61 after 30 minutes. Holland's basket got the difference back to double figures, 75-63. UNICS's offense ended up stalling a bit and Bahcesehir put together a 0-12 run with Erkan Yilmaz picking up a triple and a dunk and Ridvan Oncel's steal and layup knotting the game at 75-75, resulting in a UNICS timeout. Smith continued his red-hot game and got UNICS back on track with a three-pointer. Antipov, Smith and Holland all hit from long range for 4 triples in five possessions to pull ahead 87-81. The visitors would not go away with Perez hitting a three and then a layup to put Bahcesehir back ahead 87-88 with 53 seconds left. After both teams failed to score, Smith had one final chance and he drove into the lane and threw in the winner with 3.1 seconds to play. Perez failed to cap his masterful performance as his three-point attempt didn’t go in.
Smith jumps to 12th place on scoring list
Jamar Smith scored 25 points for UNICS and moved into 12th place on the EuroCup’s all-time scoring list with 1,092 points in 90 games, moving past Elmedin Kikanovic’s 1,084 points. Next up is Radoslav Rancik with 1,127 points. Smith drained a career-high 7 three-pointers along the way and those triples increased his EuroCup career total to 217. That leaves Smith just 6 three-pointers shy of Rafa Martinez’s all-time mark of 223 threes in 144 games.
Home sweet home for UNICS’ shooters
UNICS struggled from beyond the three-point line in its opener, hitting just 9 of 33 (27.3%). Take away Jamar Smith’s 4-of-8 showing and that percentage falls to 20.0%. But that was on the road at Umana Reyer Venice. Against Bahcesehir at home, UNICS knocked down 19 of 31 three-pointers for a white-hot 61.3%. Those 19 three-pointers were just 1 shy of the all-time EuroCup record.
Besides the three-point shooting, UNICS did a good job on the offensive glass, picking up 11 offensive rebounds to just 6 for Bahcesehir. Bahcesehir was held to 34.8% shooting from long range.
UNICS will remain at home for Round 3 when it welcomes Partizan NIS Belgrade on Wednesday, October 14 looking for a second straight win. Bahcesehir returns home in search of its first-ever EuroCup victory when it takes on Joventut Badalona that same evening.
Tuesday, October 6, 2020