Unics Kazan made sure it will play the second game of the quarterfinals at home by taking a last-second 77-79 win over host ratiopharm Ulm in a Group L thriller for first place on the final night of the Last 16. Both teams were already qualified, but the result broke their tie, giving Unics a 4-2 record. Ulm finished 3-3, in second-place tie with but having a tie-break advantage over Galatasaray Medical Park. Both face quarterfinal opponents from Spain: Unics will meet Valencia Basket in one two-game series, while Ulm will face Uxue Bilbao Basket. The Unics victory came after Ulm had seemingly sent the game into overtime, but two free throws from Chuck Eidson meant that Unics got the job done in regulation time. Eidson was the standout performer for Unics, with 24 points and 5 rebounds plus some important steals that led to crucial baskets. Terrell Lyday added 20 points for Unics, while Ian Vougioukas neared a double-double with 12 points, 9 rebounds. For Ulm, Lance Jeter led the way with 18 points, Allan Ray scored 16 and Philipp Schwethelm 11 in defeat.
Vougioukas put Unics ¡ ahead with an early layup that Jeter answered with a three-pointer for Ulm. Jeter and Ray would be proceed to score 7 points each in the quarter, counterbalancing the points, assists and hefty amount of rebounds for Vougioukas. Eidson was warming up for another excellent performance as the scoreboard was all-square heading toward the first break until Steven Esterkamp made his first basket of a buzzer-beating triple that let Ulm lead 22-19 after 10 minutes. Unics took the lead with consecutive baskets after the restart, but the score remained tight. Pavel Antipov made an immediate impact for the guests with back-to-back three-pointers. When Vougioukas threw down a subsequent dunk, the Unics lead was extended to 27-33. Ray and Jeter made sure that Unics didn't break away by scoring twice from close range, and Schwethelm's layup off his fourth offensive rebound tied the score again. It would only get better for Ulm, as John Bryant’s late layup gave the hosts a lead back, 37-35 , at halftime.
After the break, Eidson turned up the heat for Unics with his blocks, rebounds and points. But Ulm had a trick up its sleeve in Daniel Theis, who rocked the rim with a pair of big dunks in the space of a minute to keep his team ahead 46-40 as Eidson broke into double-digits in scoring with another shot from inside. Also prolific on scoring, Ray drained an outside shot to make it a seven-point game. Theis kept on dunking to delight the home crowd, while Eidson added a further 5 consecutive points that kept Unics close. Once again, however, Ulm finished the quarter strong, as Jeter nailed a triple and a layup for a 56-49 advantage after 30 minutes. Eidson moved up to 20 points with some critical baskets as Unics chased the lead in the fourth quarter. Ulm attempted to put the win beyond doubt as Keaton Nankivil and Schwethelm buried pair of triples to make it 68-61. But still Unics kept on coming. Eidson completed the comeback with a steal and layup, part of 7 unanswered points for the visitors. The game poised on a knife-edge as Lyday hit his second three-pointer for Unics, forcing Ulm to foul him. Lyday then hit 4 of 4 free throws, seemingly giving the win to the team from Kazan. That was until Schwethelm sank a three-pointer with 2 seconds left to tie 77-77. After a timeout, Unics got the ball to Eidson, who was fouled as he tried to beat the buzzer. He held his nerve and converted both of his free throws, giving Unics a 77-79 win and the top spot in the group.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013