UNICS fends off tough fight in win at Rytas
UNICS Kazan fended off a tough fight from Rytas Vilnius in picking up an 81-87 road victory for its third straight win in Group D. Errick McCollum scored 18 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter while Pierria Henry collected 18 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists as UNICS, which had already qualified for the 7DAYS EuroCup Top 16, jumped to 5-1. Rytas dropped its second straight game to fall to 3-4 despite D.J. Seeley picking up 19 points, 6 assists and 3 steals. Martynas Echodas added 14 points, Dominique Sutton had 13 points and 6 rebounds and new acquisition Rok Stipcevic chipped in 11 points and 5 rebounds in his first EuroCup game for the team.
Neither team scored in the first two minutes until Arnas Butkevicius's opening basket. Henry's three-pointer gave UNICS its first lead at 7-9 and Raymar Morgan's feed for a Maurice Ndour dunk made it 10-14. Rytas converted 6 straight free throws and Echodas's dunk just before the buzzer made it 18-18 after 10 minutes. Stipcevic and Seeley combined for 14 points as Rytas grabbed the lead and jumped up 34-19 on another Echodas dunk. Morgan tried to keep UNICS close, but Sutton tallied 6 straight points for the guests, who pushed the advantage to 43-35 after an Echodas three-point play for the halftime score. Henry's two three-pointers were erased by triples from Mindaugas Girdziunas and Butkevicius as Rytas led 53-48. But Ndour scored twice in a 0-10 run to go up 53-58 and the UNICS cushion was just 58-59 after 30 minutes. There were seven lead changes early in the fourth quarter with Seeley's basket after three-pointers from Eimantas Bendziunas and Girdziunas making it 74-72. McCollum was red hot in the fourth quarter with a three-point play and layup and then Henry nailed a three and assisted on Trent Lockett's three-pointer to put UNICS up 77-83. McCollum added a steal and 4 more points in the final 46 seconds to end any hopes of a comeback.
Rytas Vilnius was leading 74-72 when Errick McCollum took over with 9 points in the decisive 5-15 run.
McCollum had the big fourth quarter, but Pierria Henry was big throughout the game with 18 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. That effort was needed as Maurice Ndour had just 9 points and 4 rebounds and Raymar Morgan was held to 8 points and 4 rebounds before fouling out with five minutes left.
UNICS was out-rebounded 30-26, but the visitors shot well all game, hitting 59.0% on two-point shots, 42.1% on three-point shots and 17 of 20 (85.0%) from the free throw line, while Rytas made just 6 of 19 (31.6%) from downtown.
Rytas next week heads out on the road for a huge battle at Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt as both teams are looking to solidify their spots in the top four of the group. UNICS travels to Italy and takes on Fiat Turin.
Tuesday, November 13, 2018