A strong finish lifts perfect Darussafaka over UNICS
In a clash of previously undefeated teams, Darussafaka Istanbul trailed for most of the night but used an 11-0 fourth-quarter run to down UNICS Kazan 78-69 on Wednesday. Darussafaka remained unbeaten with a 3-0 record in Group A, while UNICS dropped to 2-1. The visitors led for the majority of the game and 3 third-quarter triples from Quino Colom and a pair in the fourth quarter from Anton Ponkrashov helped them build an 8-point lead.But Darussafaka answered with 11 consecutive points to take a 66-63 lead, and never relinquish the advantage. Scottie Wilbekin paced the hosts with 20 points, Howard Sant-Roos had 13 points and 6 assists, JaJuan Johson posted 12 points and 9 rebounds while Michael Eric collected 12 points and 8 rebounds. James Bell finished the game with 10 points in victory. Jamar Smith scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half for UNICS, Colom netted 16 points, while Ponkrashov and Stephane Lasme had 11 apiece in defeat.
It was all UNICS in the opening minutes, with Stephane Lasme and Melvin Ejim dominating under the rims, and Colom and Smith hitting back-to-back triples. A second-chance jumper from Smith opened a 6-15 margin. The hosts got it going offensively with a three from Wilbekin, and a few possessions later Howard Sant-Roos nailed a long distance shot. But Smith was on fire for UNICS, driving to the basket and hitting a long jumper and a triple to make it 16-24. Darussafaka cut it to 20-24 before the end of first quarter, then Michael Eric had a strong start to the second quarter and Will Cummings scored 5 consecutive points to put Darussafaka in front 31-28. The teams traded leads and Ejim’s triple helped the visitors go into halftime with the lead. Colom’s jumper just before the halftime buzzer made it 37-40 at the break.
After the break, Colom hit a pair of threes, but first Wilbekin and then Sant Roos replied on the ensuing possession to make it 45-48. Colom nailed his third triple of the quarter and dished a great pass for a Kostas Kaimakoglou layup as UNICS went into the fourth quarter with 48-55 lead. Wilbekin triple had a triple, but Anton Ponkrashov nailed two from downtown, to keep the visitors in front 55-63. However, a dunk from JaJuan Johnson started an 11-0 run, during which Bell hit back-to-back triples, as the hosts took a 66-63 lead. The hosts never relinquished the lead with Cummings and Wilbekin coming up with important baskets down the stretch, before a pair of layups from Bell sealed the deal.
In Round 4 both teams go on the road, UNICS visits Cedevita Zagreb and Darussafaka travels to face Fiat Turin.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017