Aris beats Unics and storms to top spot in Group D
Aris Thessaloniki outlasted Unics Kazan 76-70 on Wednesday to storm into first place in Group D. Dominic Waters scored 19 points, including a pair of crucial free throws with 13.9 seconds left that made it a two-possession, as Aris beat Unics for the second time this season. The two teams now sport identical 5-3 records. Unics started strong through Keith Langford’s 12 first-quarter points and Art Parakhouski’s dominance in the paint to lead by double figures in the first quarter. But Aris outscored the visitors 63-50 over the remaining three to score the victory. Jerel McNeal netted 15 points and Jake Cohen and Jamelle Hagins added 14 each for the winners. Langford finished with 25 points for Unics, Parakhouski posted 11 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocks and Kostas Kaimakoglou and Quino Colom accounted for 11 points each.
Langford finished a three-chance Unics attack with a three-point play to start the scoring. After McNeal got Aris on the scoreboard, Parakhouski and Langford teamed up on a 0-9 run that gave the visitors a double-digit lead, 2-12. Cohen scored 5 straight points to halve the deficit for Aris. Latavious Williams scored twice – surrounding Cohen free throws – to make it 13-20 at the end of the first quarter. Hagins brought Aris back within 5, but a Colom triple kept the visitors in charge. After a Parakhouski put-back, Spyros Mourtos and Waters rallied the hosts to within 25-28. Parakhouski continued to dominate with offensive rebounds and blocks before Langford pushed the lead back to 7. Cohen sank 4 free throws and his rejection of Lanford set up a McNeal fast break score to trim the difference to 32-34 at the break.
An Okaro White three-pointer gave Aris its first lead, 37-34, a minute into the second half. Waters added a three to push the lead to 4, but Colom evened things at 42-42 with free throws. A pair of Kaimakoglou tripled pushed Unics in front, 46-48, but Waters responded for the hosts to first tie it and then send Aris to a 56-52 advantage. Langford’s basket-plus-foul made it 56-55 through three quarters. Aris threatened to pull away through McNeal’s three-point play and Hagins’s layup off of Vassilis Xanthopoulos’s steal to take a 6-point lead. Parakhouski went to work inside, but threes from McNeal and Theodoros Zaras gave Aris a 67-59 cushion. Unics’s defense silenced the hosts for more than four minutes, but still trailed by 3 with two minutes to go after a three by Langford. Waters made it 70-65 with a minute-plus to play, however Anton Ponkrashov and combined for the next 4 points. White attacked the rim with 17.5 seconds left, drew a foul and made the resulting free throws. After Langford split free throws and Waters made 2, it was a two-possession game, which Hagins iced from the line.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015