Unics bounced back from recent losses in Group I by thrashing Strasbourg 94-57 in Kazan, Russia on Tuesday. Both teams now tie in Group I with a 3-4 record, but Unics now has the tie-break advantage over Strasbourg in both teams keep tying at the end of the regular season. Sergei Chikalkin led the winners with 19 points. Nikolai Padius added 15 on 4-for-4 three-pointers in just 14 minutes while Marko Tusek and Tariq Kirksay each had 12 points for Unics, whose superstar Darjus Lavrinovic played his first ULEB Cup minutes this season. Afik Nissim had 12 points for Strasbourg but nobody else scored in double digits. An 11-0 run already gave Unics the lead for good, 14-5. An unstoppable Chikalkin allowed Unics to boost its margin to 24-10 after 10 minutes. Kirksay and Tusek allowed Unics to boost its margin to 39-20, while Dusko Savanovic stepped up after the break to break the game open, 55-28. Strasbourg never recovered, as Tusek and Jerry McCullough even managed to make it a 29-point game, 78-49, midway through the fourth quarter, more than enough for Unics to cruise to an important home win.
Sacha Giffa got Strasbourg going with a triple and Eddie Shannon soon added another basket, but Unics soon adjusted its offense. Dmitry Sokolov and Kirksay fueled a 11-0 Unics run that put the hosts ahead, 14-5. Rob Lewin tried to change things for Strasbourg but Chikalkin had 7 unanswered points while Lavrinovic added another basket to boost Unics' lead to 24-8. Afik Nissim brought Strasbourg within 24-10 after 10 minutes. Gauthier Darrigand stroke from downtown and John McCord scored to get the guests closer at 26-15. Unics did not panic, as Kirksay sank a three-pointer while Tusek added a layup-plus-foul for a 33-18 margin. Virgil Stanescu stepped up with consecutive baskets while Tusek made it a 19-point game at 39-20, making Strasbourg call timeout. Shannon and Stanescu traded free throws but Darrigand buried a triple for a 41-26 Strasbourg deficit. Stanescu and a final basket by Kirksay allowed Unics to reach halftime with a 45-28 margin. Chikalkin and Savanovic combined for all points in a 10-0 run that broke the game open after the break, 55-28. Strasbourg went scoreless for almost 5 minutes until Shannon and Nissim combined for 5 quick points. Chikalkin hit one from downtown and soon added another basket to keep Unics out of trouble, 62-36. Obasohan made free throws and soon buried consecutive three-pointer, but he only got Strasbourg within 67-46 after 30 minutes. The outcome was already clear and both teams fought for points differential now, as Strasbourg registered a 78-66 win against Unics in Week 2. Strasbourg struggled to score early in the fourth quarter, while Tusek and McCullough kept Unics way ahead, 78-49, midway through the final period. Padius nailed 3 consecutive triples to seal the hosts' win in style. Everything was said and done, as Unics had showed it is ready to keep fighting to reach the elimination rounds, downing a direct opponent in the process.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007