Power Electronics Valencia became the Last 16 Group J champion by downing Unics 91-81 at home on Tuesday. Power Electronics finished first in Group J with a 5-1 record and will have the home court advantage in its two-way Quarterfinal series against Aris BSA 2003. Meanwhile, Unics was third with a 3-3 record, as it needed to win by at least 6 points to make it to the next round. Serhiy Lishchuk led 6 Valencia players in double digits with 18 points on 6-of-6 two-pointers. Rafa Martinez added 14, Thomas Kelati and Matt Nielsen each added 13 while Nando De Colo and Kosta Perovic had 10 apiece for Valencia. Maciej Lampe led Unics with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Terrell Lyday added 16 points, Marko Popovic had 11 while Artem Kuzyakin got 10 for the guests, that trailed 15-14 late in the first quarter. A huge three-pointer by Victor Claver sparked a 8-0 run that gave Valencia its first double-digit lead, 29-19. Nielsen and an inspired Kelati kept Valencia way ahead, 46-34, at halftime. Unics rallied after the game and a three-point play by Lampe brought the guests within 53-52. De Colo, Kelati and Martinez struck from downtown in a 22-3 run that broke the game open, 75-55, early in the fourth quarter. Unics managed to get within 87-81 with a minute left but it was already too little, too late for the guests.
Popovic fed Kresimir Loncar for a reverse layup that got Unics going and Saulius Stombergas soon added a baseline jumper for a 0-4 lead. Martinez followed a mid-range jumper with a backdoor layup but Lyday struck from downtown to put Unics back ahead, 4-7. De Colo stepped up with an off-balance jumper and an outstanding driving basket by Claver gave Valencia its first lead, 8-7. Nielsen took over with a three-point play but a jumper by Lampe kept Unics as close as 11-9. Martinez kept pacing Valencia with 4-of-4 free throws but a three-pointer by Popovic and an easy layup by Lampe brought the guests within 15-14. Perovic scored in the low post and added free throws in a 6-0 Valencia run that Serhiy Lishchuk capped with a fast break dunk. Kuzyakin shined with a layup-plus-foul and Loncar added an up-and-under move but an unbelievable buzzer-beating running triple by Claver gave Valencia a 24-19 edge after 10 minutes. Lishchuk followed a driving basket with a triple to boost Valencia's led to double digits, 29-19, early in the second quarter. Veremeenko answered with a long jumper that Kelati matched with foul shots. Lampe hit a jump hook and Veremeenko struck from downtown to bring Unics back to life, 31-26. Nielsen banked in a turnaround jumper and Kelati added an uncontested layup to keep Valencia out of trouble, 35-26. Lishchuk dunked it again and soon added a layup in transition to make it a 14-point game, 40-26. Unics called a much-needed timeout and Lyday sank foul shots but Jose Simeon and Kelati buried back-to-back triples. Lyday kept trying to change things with a jumper that Popovic followed with foul shots to get Unics within 46-34 at halftime.
Loncar took over with a big basket in the low post immediately after the break and soon added a three-pointer to get Unics within single digits, 48-39. Nielsen stepped up with a layup in transition and fed Perovic for a dunk that gave Valencia a 52-39 lead. Kuzyakin nailed a triple and added free throws in a 0-8 run that Lampe capped with his own shot from downtown, making Valencia call timeout at 52-47. Kuzyakin scored again and a layup-plus-foul by Lampe made it a one-point game, 53-52. Nielsen took over with a three-point play and De Colo downed a big triple to give Valencia some fresh air at 60-54. Kelati joined the three-point shootout to force Unics to call timeout at 63-54. Lishchuk followed a put-back layup with a backdoor drunk to break the game open at 67-55. Valencia kept excelling in defense and three-pointers by De Colo and Martinez boosted the hosts' lead to 73-55 after 30 minutes. Lishchuk sank free throws early in the fourth quarter to cap a mamooth 22-3 run. Popovic tried to ignite the guests' comeback with free throws and Lyday added a mid-range jumper for a 15-point Unics deficit, 75-60. Claver and Lampe traded layups but Kelati did better with a triple that sealed the outcome, 80-62. Unics kept trying but everything was said and done already. All Power Electronics fans were celebrating that their team will keep fighting for Eurocup glory. Meanwhile, Unics fell short in the very last game, losing all chances to reach the Quarterfinals.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010