Unics Kazan advanced to the Last 16 by edging Russian rival Dynamo Moscow 77-87 on the road on Tuesday, and is less than a step away from winning group D, which it tops with a perfect 4-0 record. Dynamo couldn't avenge last week's loss in Kazan and fell to 2-2, but still holds the second place in the group and has a good shot at the Last 16. Veteran guard Sergey Chikalkin was the unexpected hero of the night, as he only played in two quarters, but scored 15 points in the second quarter and 10 more in the decisive fourth to finish with 25 points for Unics, 18 of them on triples. Tariq Kirksay had another great performance for the guests, as he collected 20 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals, while Vladimir Veremeenko posted a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds and fellow big man Kresimir Loncar added 12 points for Unics, which played without scoring leader Terrell Lyday, who went down in the first game against Dynamo last Tuesday. Dynamo's big men Robertas Javtokas and Darjus Lavrinovic led the hosts with a combined 32 points and 16 rebounds, and Travis Hansen chipped in with 13 points and 4 assists.
Jannero Pargo opened the first quarter with a layup, but Veremeenko and Kirksay scored 5 points on the other end to give the guests an early lead. Hansen and Pargo didn't waste any time to answer with 4 points for Dynamo, but Dmitry Sokolov, Veremeenko and Artem Kouziakine made 6 for 6 from the charity stripe to keep Unics in front, before Bostjan Nachbar evened the score at 11-11 with a three-point play. Neither team could get an upper hand for the rest of the quarter, as seven lead changes and three ties followed. Lavrinovic scored a layup to widen Dynamo's advantage to 3 points only to see Igor Zamanskiy nail a triple on the other end, as it was all tied at 22-22 after the first 10 minutes. Though Lavrinovic stepped up with two more baskets to start the second quarter, the guests were hitting shots, too. Then Pargo scored 5 of Dynamo's 6 straight points to make it 32-27, but it took almost no time for Loncar to answer with 5 points on the other end before Chikalkin connected on his second three of the quarter to help the guests overtake the lead at 34-35. Hansen and Javtokas combined for 4 layups for Dynamo, while Chikalkin got completely out of control, scoring 9 straight points for the guests, including the first half's last 5 points, as Unics held a 42-47 edge at the halftime.
Defenses were stronger than offenses at the start of the second half, as a Hansen dunk and a Sokolov free throw were the only scorings the Moscow crowd saw in the first four minutes of the third quarter. Then Lavrinovic hit 2 free throws and back-up point-guard Hollis Price added a layup to help Dynamo even the score at 48-48. Kirksay finally made Unics' first field goal of the second half, and the athletic all-around forward also scored the last bucket of the low-scoring third quarter for a 51-54 Unics lead. Chikalkin spent the entire third quarter on the bench, but needed only seconds to give Unics a perfect start in the last quarter by hitting his fourth triple. Price and Nachbar helped Dynamo get closer, and though Kirksay and Loncar scored on the other end, Lavrinovic was ready to contribute with a bucket inside and a three-pointer. Hansen capped the 11-5 run with a layup, to tie the game once again at 62-62. A couple possessions later Price gave the hosts their first lead of the second half, but just as things finally seemed to go Dynamo's way, Veremeenko stepped up with two baskets inside, the second of them being a dunk-plus-a-foul. Veremeenko's heroics put the guests back in front, but it was magnificent Chikalkin, who killed Dynamo with 2 shots form behind the arc for his fifth and sixth triple of the night. All of a sudden it was 67-76 with only two minutes to go, and though Sergey Monya got hot with 8 points, it was too late for Dynamo as Unics went 11 for 14 from the free throw line, 7 of them by Kirksay, to seal the 77-87 win together with a ticket to the Last 16.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008