Unics hangs on in Valencia, claims first place
In a clash for the first place between two already qualified teams, Unics Kazan survived losing a big first half lead, managing to hold on for a dramatic 73-76 road win over Valencia Basket on Tuesday. Unics finished Last 32 with a 5-1 record, claiming the first place in Group O and securing a home court advantage in the eighthfinals where it will face either CEZ Basketball Nymburk or Maccabi Haifa Bazan, while Valencia dropped to 3-3 and will play Khimki Moscow Region in the next stage. The visitors had a fantastic start to the game, opening 15-36 lead with combination of stingy defense and efficient offense. Valencia rallied behind Bojan Dubljevic and some three-point daggers, cutting it to 40-48 at halftime, before erasing the deficit in the third quarter. The hosts grabbed their first lead at the start of the fourth, 65-62, but Unics hang on. Andrew Goudelock and Luke Harangody scored key baskets in the final minutes, pulling out a victory for the visitors. Goudelock paced the winners with 25 points. Chuck Eidson collected 9 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 assists, while Ian Vougioukas also scored 9 in victory. Dubljevic amassed 20 points plus 12 rebounds for the hosts. Romain Sato scored 11, while Pau Ribas added 9 in defeat.
Unics had a great start into the game. Goudelock got things going immediately with a jumper, Nikita Kurbanov added put-back, before Kostas Kaimakoglou sank a three-pointer for 2-10. With a jumper from Nikos Zisis and a triple from Eidson, the visitors opened 4-15 advantage. Sam Van Rossom hit the first triple for Valencia, but Zisis countered with a three-pointer and Goudelock with a basket-plus-foul for 9-23. The hosts tried with more defensive pressure, and Dubljevic hustled for a pair of put-backs for Valencia, but Eidson nailed another triple, and Goudelock hit a last second jumper for 15-31 after the first quarter. Margin broke a 20-point barrier start of the second quarter when Ian Vougioukas scored a basket-plus-foul, 15-36. Dubljevic scored twice more from close range, and together with Romain Sato hit 5 of 5 from the foul line, cutting the deficit. Goudelock snapped a 10-0 run with a layup, also added a floater and a jumper to the tally, but Van Rossom cut it to 30-40 with a triple, before Rafa Martinez and Oliver Lafayette hit back-to-back triples, helping the hosts within 40-48 at halftime.
At the start of the third quarter, Sato nailed a pair of shots, and Martinez hit a triple, cutting it to 49-52. Vladimir Veremeenko snapped a 9-0 run, before Goudelock and Eidson briefly gave the visitors more breathing room. But Valencia went on another charge, stringing 6 straight points, and a dunk from Juan Jose Triguero got it to 57-58. Pau Ribas drove to the hoop in the final seconds of the quarter, making it 61-61 after three quarters, and the same player made a reverse layup to start the fourth, giving Valencia its first lead of the night. A hook-shot from Dubljevic and a put-back dunk from Sato kept the hosts in front, but Goudelock hit a pair of foul shots twice to keep Unics just a point behind. A fastbreak layup from Doellman made it 69-66, but a tip-in from Kaimakoglou tied it midway through the quarter, and two free throws from Goudelock made it 70-71. A layup from Harangody made it a 3-point affair, and Valencia, needing a 7-point win, started aiming for overtime. Lafayette hit both free throws, and Ribas scored only first and purposely missed second for 73-73. Eidson split free throws with 17.6 seconds to go, and Harangody made a dunk on a fastbreak with 2.5 ticks left for 73-76. Valencia got a last look to send the game into overtime, Lafayette’s attempt was off the mark.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014