Unics Kazan started the Last 16 in style by taking a thrilling 79-85 road win
over Galatasaray Cafe Crown in Istanbul on Tuesday to open Group J.
The free throw shooting accuracy of veteran guard Marko Popovic in
the game's last 90 seconds ensured a huge win. Popovic scored 7 of his 8 foul shots after Akin Can had pushed
Galatasaray to within 77-79. Curiously, four
players from Unics Kazan nailed 17 points apiece: Maciej Lampe, who added 8
rebounds; Popovic with 8 assists; Kresmir Loncar with 7-for-8 two-
point shooting; and Terrell Lyday, who also had 4 steals. Simas Jasaitis led all
scorers with 21 points for Galatasaray, while Mike WIlkinson bagged 20.
The hosts weren't able to take advantage, either, of Radoslav Rancik's double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds, while
Darius Washington scored 13 more.
Vladimir Veremeenko opened the scoring after a hi-lo play, assisted by
Loncar, who extended the difference to 4-8 with a mid-range jump shot
Rancik slammed to get Galatasaray within 6-8, but newcomer Lampe pushed Unics ahead 8-14. He wasn't done, either. Lampe continued to score 9 points in a
row for Unics, including a three-point shot that supplied the first double-figure difference, 8-19.
Rancik replied from the same distance to keep Galatasaray within shouting distance but Loncar's next basket fixed a 13-21 scoreboard after 10 ten minutes.
Loncar hit a three-pointer to open the second quarter, Jasaitis cut the cushion to
19-26 before Saulius Stombergas and Wilkinson exchanged two-pointers.
Akin Can and Wikinson again, with back-to-back triples, completed the
Galatasaray comeback at 29-30 midway through the quarter. A
three-point-play by Jasaitis tied the score at36-36 and the crowd exploded
when Rancik, from beyond the arc, put Galatasaray in front for the first time, 39-36. Washington capped a 20-6
run with free throws to give a 43-36 margin to the hosts late in the quarter. Popovic cut it back before Wilkinson made it 45-41 at halftime.
Back from the lockers, Jasaitis bagged a mid-range jumper, but Unics had a
big impact with a 11-0 run capped by Lyday striking from beyond the arc. The visitors were up 47-52 after 24 minutes. Rancik scored at 52-55 for Galatasaray, but Lyday pushed Unics back in front by 7 points. Suddenly, that lead was gone, too, as back-to-back three-pointers by Jasaitis gave Galatasaray a new lead, 62-61 advantage. Popovic and Lampe returned to take back a slim cushion for Unics,
64-66 after 30 minutes. Veremeenko and Rancik exhcanged
baskets in the paint to begin the last quarter, then Stombergas fueled his
side to lead 67-73. Wilkinson answered for Galatasaray, before Lyday again
from three-point distance boosted Kazan to a 69-76 margin. Rancik kept his
team charging and with Jasaitis cut the difference to 74-77. After Popovic scored a pair of
free throws, Akin buried a triple at 77-79 with 90 seconds on the game clock. In the last minute, however, Popovic's accuracy from the foul
line sealed the win for the guests.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010