UNICS tops Mornar for record 155th win
UNICS Kazan took a critical step toward qualifying for the 7DAYS EuroCup Playoffs from Group H by downing Mornar Bar 70-87 at Topolica Sports Hall on Wednesday. UNICS improved to 3-0 in the Top 16 while Mornar dropped to 1-2. The win was the team's 155th in the EuroCup, which took it past Valencia Basket for the most in competition history. UNICS can mathematically advance to the next stage in Round 4 if it beats Mornar at home and Herbalife Gran Canaria wins at least one of its two games against MoraBanc Andorra. Isaiah Canaan led UNICS with 18 points, Jordan Morgan added 14 points and 14 rebounds, John Holland scored 13 and John Brown 10 for UNICS. Isaiah Whitehead led the hosts with 17 points, Kenny Gabriel scored 12 and Marko Jeremic and Nemanja Vranjes each had 11 for Mornar, which led 22-21 after 10 minutes. However, UNICS locked in on defense and scored 49 points in the middle two quarters to lead by 16 with 10 minutes left and held on until the final buzzer.
Gabriel stepped up early with 7 quick points and Whitehead added a jumper for a 9-6 Mornar lead. Nate Wolters and Okaro White each struck from downtown, but so did Vranjes to tie it at 12-12. Morgan sank a jump hook and Canaan made a close jumper, but Whitehead and Gabriel restored a 17-16 Mornar lead. After Holland buried one from beyond the arc, Nemanja Gordic answered with a driving basket and found Jeremic for a triple and a 22-21 Mornar lead after 10 minutes. Jeremic buried another three-pointer early in the second quarter and Whitehead scored in penetration for a 27-23 Mornar lead. Brown erased Taylor Smith's dunk with a tip-in and an unstoppable Holland helped UNICS regain the lead, 29-30. Brown took over with a put-back basket. Wolters and Gordic traded driving layups and Jamar Smith struck from downtown for a 31-37 score. Canaan scored twice in penetration and Smith beat the halftime buzzer with a fallaway jumper for a 36-43 UNICS lead.
Vranjes stepped up for the hosts after the break, but White sank his second triple to make it 42-46. Jordan Theodore answered from beyond the arc and Morgan added a jump hook and a huge alley-oop slam that boosted UNICS's lead to 44-53. Whitehead downed a three-pointer, but Theodore and Holland soon made it a double-digit game, 47-58. Canaan sank a step-back jumper and Morgan scored again. Whitehead and Jeremic drew Mornar within 52-62. Canaan and White kept pushing the guests and Brown dunked in traffic for a 54-70 UNICS lead after 30 minutes. Evgeny Kolesnikov hit a jumper early in the fourth quarter. Smith answered with an alley-oop dunk, which Aleksandar Lazic followed with a driving layup to bring Mornar within 58-72. Brown answered with an alley-oop slam and Morgan sealed the outcome, 58-76, as the visitors did not lose control in the final 4 minutes.
Jordan Morgan led UNICS to a critical victory with a monster double-double. He finished the game with 14 points on 7-of-11 two-point shooting and 14 rebounds. That's the most boards by a UNICS player in EuroCup action since Maciej Lampe pulled down 16 against Pepsi Caserta on March 30, 2011.
Mornar led 29-25 midway through the second quarter, but a tip-in by John Brown sparked a 2-12 run in which John Holland and Jamar Smith each struck from beyond the arc. Isaiah Canaan capped it with a layup, as UNICS grabbed a 31-39 lead and never looked back.
UNICS outrebounded Mornar 26-39, including 10 offensive boards. The guests also made 25 of 40 two-point shots (62.5%) and limited Mornar to just 17-of-33 shooting inside the arc (51.5%)
Did you know?
UNICS recorded its 155th win in the competition to set the EuroCup record. It surpassed Valencia Basket, which now ranks second with 154 wins. Herbalife Gran Canaria (116) and Rytas Vilnius (102) are the only other teams with more than 100 victories in EuroCup history. UNICS, which won the competition in the 2010-11 campaign, has played 219 EuroCup games and has a 70.8% winning percentage.
The two teams face each other again in Top 16 Round 4 next week. This time, UNICS hosts Mornar at Basket Hall Kazan on Wednesday, February 3.
Wednesday, January 27, 2021