Unics Kazan claimed the last remaining ticket to the 2014-15 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season after rallying from a 19-point deficit to beat ASVEL Lyon Villeurbanne 79-88 in the final of the qualifying rounds at Sleuyter Arena in Ostend, Belgium on Friday. James White scored 21 points, D’Or Fischer had 18 plus 8 rebounds, while Curtis Jerrells added 15 points and 5 assists, leading an improbable comeback by Unics, which now joins Real Madrid, Anadolu Efes Istanbul, Zalgiris Kaunas, Nizhny Novgorod and Dinamo Banco di Sardegna in Group A of the Euroleague regular season. ASVEL took control of the game in the second quarter behind veteran center David Andersen, who scored 11 of his game-high 27 points in that period. The French side built a double-digit margin with triples from Taurean Green and Edwin Jackson, going into halftime up 53-39, and Jackson’s triple extended it to 60-41 in the third. But Unics countered with a huge 0-20 run, with White, Fischer and Jerrells in main roles, re-taking the lead 62-64. Unics never trailed again, as a 2-11 run early in the fourth gave it 68-78. All-in-all it was 8-37 spurt that turned the game around, and paved the way to a big victory and a place in the Euroleague regular season. Kostas Kaimakoglou collected 13 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists in victory, while Keith Langford had 9 points and 6 rebounds. Jackson and Amara Sy had 12 apiece for ASVEL, which will resume its European campaign this season in the Eurocup.
White and Kostas Kaimakoglou hit triples to get things going for Unics, before baskets from White and D'Or Fischer made it 5-10. But back-to-back triples from Edwin Jackson and Yohann Sangare gave ASVEL its first lead, 13-12. Unics regained the advantage with a 2-8 spurt, during which White and Dmitry Sokolov each scored a pair of buckets, before a three-pointer from Sangare made it 20-22 at the end of the first quarter. Bader opened the third quarter with a triple, and Ahmad Nivins added a layup for 26-22. Curtis Jerrells buried a tough one from long range for Unics, but Nivins scored from close range, and Andersen hit one from long range for 33-27. Viktor Sanikidze made another shot from downtown for Unics, but Andersen was virtually unstoppable with his nifty moves inside, and Taurean Green hit from downtown on the way to opening up 43-33 lead. Unics once again contered with a triple, this one from Kaimakoglou, but a baseline dunk from Sy and triples from Green and Jackson extended it to 51-36. Jerrells had a fastbreak three-pointer in the final minutes, but it was only fitting Andersen closed out the half from close range, giving ASVEL 53-39 halftime lead.
Andersen and Sy scored inside, and Jackson buried a triple, extending it to 60-41 early in the third. White replied with a dunk-plus-foul, and after another basket from Andersen, Unics went on a stunning 0-20 run to re-take the lead. Fischer fueled it with a jumper, and added couple more baskets later on. Kaimakoglou hit a triple, Jerrells scored 5 points, while White had a monster dunk and a pair of jumpers which made it 62-64. ASVEL was without a basket for almost 6 minutes, but Nivins hit a long jumper with a buzzer, to tie it at 64-64 at the end of the third quarter. At the start of the fourth, Nikos Zisis and Keith Langford nailed triples, before Jerrells and Kaimakoglou added driving layups. A pair of mid-range jumpers from Fischer extended it to 68-78. Green snapped 2-11 run with a jumper, before a put-back and a triple from Andersen cut it to 75-80 with 2 minutes to go. After a timeout, however, Jerrells threw a pass for Fischer’s alley-oop dunk, then took it to the basket himself, extending it back to 9 points with 57 second remaining, before White and Langford sealed the deal from the foul line, completing a huge comeback victory.
Friday, September 26, 2014