2018-19Top 16Round 1
January 02, 2019 CET: 16:45
Local time: 18:45 BASKET HALL KAZAN

UNICS edges Zenit in Russian derby thriller

UNICS Kazan tipped off the Top 16 by holding on for a thrilling 68-67 home victory against Russian neighbor Zenit St. Petersburg, which had plenty of chances to win a closely-contested game, including a potential game-winning three-pointer that was missed by Evgeny Voronov on the final possession. 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season MVP Pierria Henry led the way for UNICS with 17 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists, while Melvin Ejim added 11 points and 8 rebounds. Jalen Reynolds had a huge night for Zenit in defeat, combining 17 points and 17 rebounds. The visiting team also got 14 points from Philip Scrubb and 10 from Marko Simonovic.

The game was close from the beginning, as Henry scored twice inside and Anton Ponkrashov netted from deep for UNICS, but Simonovic answered for the visitors with 7 points. A put-back by Anton Pushkov helped make it 18-18 after 10 minutes. Layups from Pushkov and a pair of triples for Scrubb sent Zenit ahead, but long-range strikes by Ejim and Jamar Smith restored UNICS's edge. Jarrod Uthoff struck from deep and Reynolds netted a pair of mid-range jumpers for another Zenit lead, 29-37, before Henry ended UNICS's drought with 4 straight points. Kostas Kaimakoglou added 2 three-pointers to pull the hosts closer and it was 41-42 at halftime. Henry and Smith opened the second half scoring from long-range, but a three-point play from the dominant Reynolds and a triple from Simonovic sent Zenit back in front. Strong Zenit defense helped ensure a 53-54 advantage by the end of the third and Scrubb scored twice to protect the lead early in the fourth. But free throws kept UNICS in the game, and the hosts then moved ahead with scores from Ejim and Jackie Carmichael. Uthoff's triple gave Zenit a fresh spark and Reynolds made it a one-possession game inside the final minute. Gal Mekel's free throws made it 68-67, but Voronov missed a triple, despite having a good look on the final possession and UNICS held on.

Free throws make the difference for UNICS

UNICS had a tough night on offense, suffering a few lengthy scoring droughts and finishing the game with just 12 of 32 two-point shots converted (37.5%) and hitting only 8 of 26 from long-range (30.8%). But it was a different story from the foul line, with the home team making 20 of its 24 free throws, including a key run of 7 straight early in the fourth quarter to level the game despite failing to make a single field goal.

Reynolds's season-best in rebounds

Jalen Reynolds set a new season-high for the 7DAYS EuroCup by grabbing 17 rebounds. The Zenit big man registered 10 points and 9 rebounds in the first half alone and soon completed his double-double with a monster rebound early in the second half. Sixteen of his boards were off the defensive glass, setting a new personal best and tying the second-highest ever in the competition.

Signs of optimism despite losing start for Plaza

New Zenit coach Joan Plaza – a two-time EuroCup winner – will find reasons for optimism despite starting his reign with a loss. Plaza's team led for much of the game and came within one missed shot of claiming a road upset against a UNICS team that boasted a 9-1 record in the regular season. He will be particularly heartened by seeing Zenit allow just 68 points after conceding an average of 82.3 in the last phase of the competition.

Next round

Round 2 of the Top 16 next week will see Zenit head home to take on Cedevita Zagreb, while UNICS goes on the road for a trip to face Morabanc Andorra.

Pierria Henry - UNICS Kazan (photo UNICS) - EC18
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Eurocupbasketball.com
Referees: JIMENEZ, BENJAMIN; LAURINAVICIUS, JURGIS; NIKOLIC, UROS
Attendance: 3187
By Quarter1234
UNICS Kazan18231215
Zenit St Petersburg18241213
End of Quarter1234
UNICS Kazan18415368
Zenit St Petersburg18425467
UNICS Kazan
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
3 EJIM, MELVIN 24:13 11 2/5 1/3 4/4 3 5 8 4 1   1 1 3 3 19
4 LOCKETT, TRENT 25:29 4 2/4 0/2   1 4 5 2 1 1     3 2 6
5 NDOUR, MAURICE 10:00   0/3     1 1 2   1 1         -1
6 MCCOLLUM, ERRICK 17:54 8 0/2 0/3 8/10   3 3 1 1 1   1 2 5 7
7 PONKRASHOV, ANTON 17:00 5 1/3 1/3     2 2 1   1         3
15 SMITH, JAMAR 21:01 9 0/2 3/7     2 2 2   3     1 1 4
17 CARMICHAEL, JACKIE 35:41 7 2/3   3/4 2 3 5   1   3   2 5 17
27 KOSHCHEEV, ANDREY 3:24   0/1               1   1 1   -4
42 KOLESNIKOV, EVGENY 2:42     0/1             1     1   -3
45 SHELEKETO, MAKSIM DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
49 HENRY, PIERRIA 34:49 18 5/9 1/4 5/6   5 5 4 2 4   1 3 3 16
88 KAIMAKOGLOU, KOSTAS 7:47 6   2/3                   1   4
Team           2 2 4     2         2
Totals 200:00 68 12/32 8/26 20/24 9 27 36 14 7 15 4 4 17 19 70
        37.5% 30.8% 83.3%
Head coach: PRIFTIS, DIMITRIS
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Zenit St Petersburg
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
2 REYNOLDS, JALEN 29:53 17 7/12   3/3 1 16 17     2 2 1 3 3 28
7 KARASEV, SERGEY 22:02   0/2 0/1         3   2     4   -6
9 MEKEL, GAL 25:13 8 3/11 0/3 2/2   5 5 5 1 3 2   1 4 10
11 MILLER-MCINTYRE, CODI 13:30     0/3     1 1 3 1 1     2 1  
12 BALASHOV, SERGEI DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
14 PUSHKOV, ANTON 10:01 6 3/6   0/1 2 1 3         1 4 3 3
16 TRUSHKIN, VLADISLAV 13:36 3 0/1 1/1   2   2     1       1 4
18 VORONOV, EVGENY 19:54 2 0/1 0/1 2/2 1 1 2 1 1 2     2 2 2
19 SIMONOVIC, MARKO 26:02 10 2/4 2/5     1 1   3 2   1     6
21 UTHOFF , JARROD 14:04 7   2/2 1/2                 2 1 5
23 SCRUBB, PHILIP 25:45 14 4/5 2/5 0/2   2 2 2 1 2   1 1 2 11
Team           5   5     1         4
Totals 200:00 67 19/42 7/21 8/12 11 27 38 14 7 16 4 4 19 17 67
        45.2% 33.3% 66.7%
Head coach: PLAZA, JOAN

Head Coaches

PRIFTIS, DIMITRIS
UNICS Kazan

“It is important that we won, and there were two good things: our second half defense only receiving 25 points, and that we cannot play worse on offense. We have to maintain this defensive effort, and for sure we have to be more effective on offense.”

“It was a very tough second half, with hard defenses, and I think both teams played really tough. We should not allow an open three on final possession, but these wins need some luck as well – they deserved to win as much as we deserved to win, because they had the last shot. But I am happy because we won the game.”

PLAZA, JOAN
Zenit St Petersburg
“When you win or lose by a point it’s like a throwing a coin in the air – sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Both teams deserve to win. No excuses, small details were the difference. 16 turnovers was too much. 60 percent free throws is not enough. We committed some mistakes which is logical with a new coach and four injuries. But this game is over, we need to think of the future.”

Players

HENRY, PIERRIA
UNICS Kazan
“It was a hard game – respect to Zenit, they fought to the end. It was a game of runs, ups and downs, and it came down to the last bucket or last stop. We live for these games, it’s what we work hard for, and we came out on top. We’re a team with many weapons, however the ball lays, whatever the system, we just try to execute and stick with it – I don’t pay attention to who gets the most points.”