Zvezda uses defense to down Unics in Game 1
Crvena Zvezda Telekom used its defense that allowed only 4 points in the fourth quarter en route to 63-52 win over Unics Kazan in Game 1 of their two-way semifinals series on Wednesday. This outcome means that victory or a loss by up to 10 points next week will be enough for Zvezda to advance to its first ever Eurocup Finals. Two teams traded leads in the first half, with Zvezda bridging the first and second quarter with a 13-1 run, and Jaka Blazic made sure the hosts take 35-33 advantage into halftime. Rasko Katic and defense got the hosts to 48-39 in the third quarter, and after Unics cut the deficit to only 2 points, Zvezda opened the fourth quarter with an 11-0 run, keeping Unics scoreless for almost 8 minutes, paving the way to victory. Blazic scored 12 of his 15 points in the first half to pace the hosts, while Katic scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half. Dragicevic collected 10 points plus 11 rebounds, and Charles Jenkins also netted 10 in victory. Boban Marjanovic pulled down 10 rebounds along with 3 points for Zvezda which outrebounded the visitors 43-31. Andrew Goudelock scored 18 for Unics, while Chuck Eidson and Vladimir Veremeenko each had 7 in defeat.
Goudelock and Blazic each scored twice to get things going, a dunk from Marjanovic made it 7-6. But Goudelock hit another shot, before Ian Vougioukas scored 6 points, including a one-handed slam in the lane and a turnaround jumper, for 12-18. Jenkins opened his account at the end of the first quarter with a basket-plus-foul, cutting it to 15-18 after one quarter, and Unics lost Vougioukas to ankle injury at the start of the second. The hosts dominated on the offensive glass, as De Marcus Nelson and Katic put Zvezda back in front from close range, before driving layups from Jenkins and Nelson made it 25-19. But Goudelock snapped a 13-1 run with a triple, then followed it with a turnaround jumper to get Unics back within 1 point. Dmitry Sokolov tied it at 26-26 from close range, before Kaimakoglou from long range helped the visitors regain the lead, 28-31. On the other end, however, Blazic banked in a floater, then nailed a corner three-pointer, Zvezda’s first shot behind the arc, giving the hosts 35-33 halftime lead.
Blazic hit a baseline jumper to start the third quarter, before Zvezda stepped up on defense. While keeping the visitors scoreless for 5 minutes, Dragicevic hit one from the distance and Katic scored three times from close range, opening up 48-39 lead. However, Tywain McKee snapped the drought with a triple from the left corner, and a driving layup, and Eidson cut it to 50-48 to end the third quarter. Dragicevic hit again from downtown at the start of the fourth, and Katic added another basket inside, keeping the hosts in front 55-48. After three minutes without a basket on either end, Jenkins buried a triple to get the margin in the double digits, and Katic’s short jumper helped extended it to 61-48. Zvezda did not allow a single point in the fourth quarter for almost 8 minutes, before Goudelock sank a three-pointer. In the final minute of the game, Katic made both free throws for the hosts, Eidson split his foul shots for Unics, rounding out the scoring.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014