UNICS holds on in Andorra
UNICS Kazan opened Top 16 Group H action by holding off MoraBanc Andorra 66-73 on Wednesday night. UNICS led for the majority of the night and by as many as 13 points in the third quarter before the hosts rallied. But Jamar Smith scored buckets and Jordan Morgan pulled down offensive boards to keep UNICS in front and start the Top 16 with a big road win. Isaiah Canaan netted 16 points and John Holland added 13 for the winners. Smith scored all of his 13 points in the second half and Morgan pulled down 10 rebounds in a victory. David Jelinek led Andorra with 18 points, Clevin Hannah scored 14, and Jeremy Senglin had 10 in the loss.
UNICS went up early with Holland sinking back-to-back triples. A three from Hannah was the only Andorra field goal in the first 5 minutes, but a three from Canaan on the other end made it 7-12. Both teams were more successful from the outside than the inside as Hannah and Holland each hit another triple. After layups from Artsiom Parakhouski and Jelinek got Andorra within a single point, Canaan's triple and a basket-plus-foul made it 14-21 late in the first quarter. Oriol Pauli strung together 6 points bridging the first and second quarters, but John Brown hustled on both ends of the floor, including a pair of close-range baskets to make it 22-29. Tyson Perez knocked down a triple for the hosts before Jelinek scored 6 points, including a three of his own, to cap a 10-0 run and give Andorra its first lead, 31-29. The teams traded baskets with Hannah and Brown each scoring from close range, while Pavel Sergeev and Jelinek connected from distance to make it 39-38 at halftime.
UNICS restored the lead behind layups from Canaan and Holland. Bandja Sy and Canaan exchanged triples to make it 42-45. Senglin had 5 points, including a three-point play, before UNICS turned it on. Brown scored twice inside to spark a 0-11 run before Smith opened his tally by knocking down a transition triple. A monster dunk from Morgan helped UNICS open a 47-56 lead. Senglin snapped a run with a triple, but Evgeny Kolesnikov hit a triple and Smith had a couple more baskets to extend it to 50-63. Hannah banked a triple on the third-quarter buzzer and then Andorra scored the first 6 points of the fourth quarter. Smith scored for the visitors, but Jelinek had a triple and a jumper to get the hosts within 64-65. Smith snapped a 14-2 run and Jordan Theodore took it to the rim to keep UNICS ahead. Morgan's reverse layup made it 64-71 with just over 3 minutes to go. Morgan followed it up with a block and an offensive rebound before Smith's step-back jumper with 1:22 to go opened a 66-73 lead and UNICS held on.
UNICS scored just 10 points in the fourth quarter, but it was enough to protect its lead thanks to its own defensive effort and allowing a season-low 66 points. It is the second time this season, and the second time in a road game, that UNICS allowed fewer than 70 points.
UNICS had a 24-41 rebounding advantage, including a massive 3-14 on the offensive glass. Add in the fact that Andorra had 2 more turnovers and 8 more free throw attempts than UNICS and it is no surprise that the visitors attempted 64 field goal attempts compared to just 48 by the hosts.
Monster on the boards
The hosts had 3 offensive rebounds, but no Andorra player pulled down a single offensive board; all 3 were team rebounds. On the other hand, UNICS had 5 offensive rebounds in the final 2 minutes during which Jordan Morgan had a pair to keep UNICS possession and run out the clock. Morgan finished with 6 offensive rebounds for the second time this season.
This is the second time this season Andorra scored just 66 points on its home floor, tied for the club's second-fewest in EuroCup history. It is also Andorra's fourth home loss in six games this season.
Next week in Round 2, both teams will be in action on Wednesday, January 20. UNICS will host Herbalife Gran Canaria, while Andorra will travel to face Mornar Bar.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021