UNICS tops ASVEL in OT thriller
In a thriller that needed overtime to determine a winner, UNICS Kazan defeated ASVEL Villeurbanne 88-84 at home on Wednesday. Quino Colom and Stephane Lasme led the winners with 15 points apiece. Anton Ponkrashov added 14 points plus 11 assists and Danilo Andjusic and Melvin Ejim each scored 11 points for UNICS. John Roberson led ASVEL with 20 points - 18 of them in the fourth quarter and overtime. A.J. Slaughter added 17, Darryl Watkins had 13 and Amine Noua 10 for the visitors. Ponkrashov and Andjusic fueled an 18-4 run that put UNICS ahead 62-49 late in the third quarter, but Roberson took over in crunch time to give ASVEL a 76-77 edge. A free throw by Ejim sent the game to overtime, 77-77. Roberson scored of all his team's points in overtime, including a three-pointer that tied it at 84-84. However a jumper by Jamar Smith and free throws by Ponkrashov ensured a UNICS celebration after a hard-fought victory. A moment of silence was held before tip-off to honor Limoges CSP president and French basketball legend Frederic Forte, who passed away earlier this week.
Noua and David Lighty got ASVEL going with back-to-back layups and a three-pointer by Charles Kahudi gave the visitors a 2-7 lead. It didn't last long, however, as Colom had the opening 5 points in an 11-0 run that Ejim capped with a triple, which caused ASVEL to call timeout at 15-9. DeMarcus Nelson followed a driving basket with a floater and Slaughter struck from downtown, but Trent Lockett took over with a reverse layup and free throws by Lasme and Ponkrashov gave UNICS a 22-16 lead after 10 minutes. Maurice Ndour stepped up with consecutive alley-oop slams and a two-handed dunk early in the second quarter, but Slaughter and Harper struck from beyond the arc to bring ASVEL within 28-25. Ponkrashov scored down low, found Andjusic for a triple and fed Lasme for a dunk that gave UNICS a 35-29 margin. Watkins had 5 points in a 0-7 run gave ASVEL the lead, 35-36, but a layup by Ejim and a three-pointer by Smith set a 40-36 UNICS lead at halftime.
Lighty and Roberson fueled a 0-6 run that Kahudi capped with a coast-to-coast layup for a 44-45 ASVEL edge early in the second half. The visitors had entered the foul penalty and UNICS made the most out of it: Ponkrashov hit 6 while Lasme and Andjusic downed 2 apiece for a 54-47 lead. Another dunk by Ndour and a three-pointer by Andjusic made it a double-digit game, 60-49. Ejim and Slaughter traded foul shots to fix the score at 62-51 after 30 minutes. Three-pointers by Roberson, Slaughter and Noua prompted an UNICS timeout at 68-62 with six minutes left. Colom joined the three-point shootout, but Slaughter and Roberson fueled a 0-7 run that Noua capped with a slam for a 71-69 score. Ejim hit a three-pointer, but a layup-plus-foul by Noua and a triple by Roberson completed ASVEL's comeback, 74-75. Lasme and Roberson traded free throws and Ejim split attempts with a minute left in regulation. Both teams exchange misses - the last one by Smith around the basket, and the game went to overtime.
Lasme hit a five-meter jumper early in the extra session and Colom added a driving layup, but free throws by Roberson tied the game again, 81-81. Colom banked in a three-pointer in the final minute, but Roberson quickly answered from downtown. Smith beat the shot clock with a jumper and Slaughter committed a key turnover with 6.3 seconds left. Free throws by Ponkrashov sealed the outcome.
Wednesday, January 3, 2018