Reyer defense holds against UNICS for win
Umana Reyer Venice survived a battle to open its 2020-21 7DAYS EuroCup campaign with an 85-78 home victory over UNICS Kazan in Group A. Michael Bramos came off the bench for a team-high 16 points while Mitchell Watt scored 14 points. Stefano Tonut added 11 and both Austin Daye and Gasper Vidmar chipped in 10 points. Jamar Smith poured in 25 points to go with 6 rebounds and 5 assists for a career-high performance index rating of 34 in the loss. Isaiah Canaan chipped in 16 points, John Holland 14 points and John Brown contributed 7 points and 10 rebounds.
Tonut tallied Reyer’s first basket of the EuroCup season while Holland drained a three-pointer at the other end for UNICS. Watt’s three-pointer sparked a 7-0 spurt as the home side went up 11-6 only to see five different UNICS players score in a 0-10 run for an 11-16 lead, which was 13-19 after a Canaan three-pointer. UNICS led 19-21 after 10 minutes. Vidmar put Reyer back ahead 23-21 early in the second quarter with Dmitrii Uzinskii responding from the outside as the lead changed hands again. Reyer punched back with a 14-3 run - including 2 three-pointers from Bramos - to build a 37-27 margin. UNICS used a timeout to settle down and Smith carried the visitors back into the game with 7 points in a 3-12 surge to close the gap to 40-39. Julyan Stone drained a late three-pointer and it was 45-39 at the break.
UNICS got close again early on with a Smith triple to make it 47-44. Andrea De Nicolao responded with a three-pointer, Tonut picked up 4 points and Watt’s dunk on the ensuing possession of an unsportsmanlike foul extended the Reyer cushion to 60-48. Pavel Antipov knocked down a three-pointer to trim the deficit to 65-55 only to see Daye drain a triple, too. Reyer led 72-55 after 30 minutes. UNICS tried to cut into the difference, but Bramos knocked down a three and it was 77-58. Smith and Canaan both hit from long range as well, but Reyer’s lead was 80-64 with 6 minutes left. UNICS did not give up with Smith converting a three-point play and Uzinskii following to get the visitors within 80-71. Vidmar scored, but missed the bonus free throw as Reyer led 83-71 with less than 3 minutes to play. UNICS tried one more push with 7 straight points to creep within 83-78 with 80 seconds remaining. Canaan missed a three-pointer with 20 seconds left and Watt’s free throws with 18 seconds to play iced the game for good.
Austin Daye was a jack of all trades for Reyer, scoring 10 points but also collecting 9 rebounds and 7 assists in the victory.
Smith makes history
Despite the loss, Jamar Smith knocked down 4 triples in scoring 25 points for UNICS. That gave him 210 three-pointers in his EuroCup career, moving past Marko Popovic into second place in the all-time charts among EuroCup players. He is now just 13 behind the all-time leader Rafa Martinez with 223 three-pointers.
Reyer held UNICS's shooters to just 9-of-33 three-point shooting (27.3%) and made 23 of 27 free throws (85.2%) compared to 17 of 22 (77.3%) foul shots for UNICS.
Reyer’s next game will be on the road as it travels to Serbia to face Partizan NIS Belgrade on Tuesday, October 6. UNICS will return home and play its EuroCup home opener against Bahcesehir Koleji Istanbul the same evening.
Wednesday, September 30, 2020