A look back at UNICS's past trips to the finals

Apr 26, 2021 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print
A look back at UNICS's past trips to the finals

UNICS Kazan is a member of a select group of 12 clubs that have won the 7DAYS EuroCup as well as six clubs with multiple trips to the EuroCup Finals. This will be the third time UNICS will be playing for all the marbles in the competition.

The club won its only EuroCup crown in 2011, its first trip to the EuroCup Finals. That season the competition format had the last four teams battle it out in a single-elimination format in Treviso, Italy, much like the EuroLeague Final Four format. UNICS arrived with an 11-3 record after it ousted Pepsi Caserta with two wins in a two-game, total-points quarterfinals series to advance alongside Cedevita Zagreb, Cajasol Seville and host Benetton Treviso.

In the semifinals, UNICS pulled away in the second half to dismiss Cedevita 87-66. UNICS built a 17-point halftime lead and never lost control of the game, as Terell Lyday led in victory with 27 points. Kelly McCarty collected 18 points and 7 rebounds, while Maciej Lampe had 16 points plus 8 rebounds for UNICS that night.

Two days later, UNICS dominated the championship game 92-77 at the expense of Cajasol Seville. UNICS made 13 of 18 field goals in the first quarter to open a 32-16 lead and Cajasol never came closer than 7 points the rest of the way. Maciej Lampe scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Marko Popovic added 18 points while shattering a EuroCup Finals record with 11 assists. Popovic also took home the EuroCup Finals MVP award to complete the UNICS celebrations at Palaverde.

UNICS returned to the EuroCup Finals three years later, in the 2013-14 season. The team had a perfect 10-0 regular season and won the first two games in the Last 32. It won 15 of 16 games to reach the eighthfinals, where it swept CET Basketball Nymburk with wins of 33 and 17 points, before sweeping Aykon TED Ankara Kolejliler in the quarterfinals with wins of 13 and 36 points. In the semis, UNICS lost the first game on the road against Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 63-52 before winning the second leg 84-67 to overcome that deficit and reach the two-game, total-points finals, where it would meet Valencia Basket.

The first game took place in Valencia, where the hosts jumped in front and led by as much as 70-37 late in the third quarter. UNICS rallied to cut the deficit to a final margin of 80-67. Vladimir Veremeenko had 17 points and Luke Harangody scored 14 that night. UNICS went into the second leg with hope, but Valencia held a 4-16 lead after 10 minutes and led 10-29 in the second quarter, which translated into a 32-point aggregate advantage. UNICS never threatened again and Valencia won the title with a 73-85 victory. Andrew Goudelock, who was the EuroCup MVP that season, scored 22 points in that game and Ian Vougioukas had 11 in a losing effort.

Four players – Pavel Antipov, Kostas Kaimakoglou, Evgeny Kolesnikov and Pavel Sergeev – from the 2014 finalists remain on the current UNICS roster though only two of them, Antipov and Sergeev, played in the finals. Seven years later, those players now have a chance to take the final step and become only the fourth team in competition history with multiple titles.