UNICS beats ASVEL in OT to stay alive
In a thriller that went down to the wire, UNICS Kazan needed overtime to survive a do-or-die battle in Top 16 Group H by edging ASVEL Villeurbanne 77-83 at the Astroballe on Wednesday. UNICS would have been eliminated with a loss, but after this win, it will qualify if it beats Limoges CSP at home next week. ASVEL and UNICS have a 3-2 record in Group H, just like Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia. Jamar Smith led the winners with 26 points. Quino Colom added 20 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists while Melvin Ejim had 16 points for UNICS. John Roberson paced ASVEL with 17 points, Charles Kahudi had 11 and Amine Noua and David Lighty each scored 10 for the hosts. ASVEL led 65-62 with less than two minutes left in regulation. Smith stepped up with 7 points in crunch time to send the game to overtime, 69-69. Colom and Ejim took over in overtime to lead UNICS to the win it needed to remain alive.
Colom got UNICS going with consecutive driving layups and Ejim dunked for a 4-6 lead. Noua struck from downtown and Daryl Watkins soon added a layup-plus-foul that gave ASVEL the lead, 11-9. Roberson hit free throws and Nicolas Lang added a floater in a 9-0 run that Alpha Kaba capped with a put-back slam for a 17-9 ASVEL margin after 10 minutes. Danilo Andjusic buried a jumper early in the second quarter and Smith added a triple to make it 17-14t. Kaba dunked again, igniting a 6-0 lead that Lighty capped with a tip-in for a 9-point lead. A layup by Andjusic and an alley-oop dunk by Ndour ignited a 1-11 run in which Colom had 5 points, including a layup-plus-foul that gave UNICS a 24-25 edge. Lighty scored in penetration and A.J. Slaughter hit free throws, but Evgeny Koleshnikov and Smith kept UNICS ahead, 28-29, at halftime.
Smith nailed back-to-back jumpers after the break, but Roberson followed a three-point play with a bomb from downtown for a 34-33 ASVEL edge. Smith kept pacing UNICS with a couple of three-pointers and Stephane Lasme added free throws, but Slaughter and DeMarcus Nelson kept the hosts in charge, 43-41. Ejim followed a three-point play with a layup, but Justin Harper and an unstoppable Roberson kept ASVEL ahead. A layup by Vladislav Trushkin and free throws by Ponkrashov put UNICS in the lead, 51-52, after 30 minutes. Smith hit a jumper early in the fourth quarter, but ASVEL improved its defense. Meanwhile, Kahudi had a dunk and a layup in a 10-0 run in which Roberson and Noua each hit a triple for a 61-54 lead with less than six minutes left. Smith scored again and back-to-back jumpers by Ejim and Ponkrashov made it 61-60. Kahudi and Lighty scored around the basket, giving ASVEL a 65-62 edge in the next-to-last minute. Smith followed a triple with a layup, but a three-pointer by Kahudi and a free throw by Lighty gave ASVEL a 69-67 edge. Smith hit a jumper with 31.8 seconds left, Kahudi missed from downtown and Colom's shot hit the rim at the buzzer.
Colom scored in penetration early in overtime and Trent Lockett added a three-pointer, but Nelson and Kahudi tied the game at 74-74. Colom and Lasme each hit free throws in a 0-6 run highlighted by Ejim's tip-in, but Roberson downed one from beyond the arc to make it 77-80 with 33.5 seconds left. Ejim made foul shots to seal the outcome, 77-82, with 14.5 seconds remaining and UNICS walked out with a critical road win.
Wednesday, January 31, 2018