Thanks to a 17-4 run to start the last quarter, Unics Kazan managed to take an easy home win over Group D leader Crvena Zvezda by 94-72. The guests managed to stay in the game until the halftime break, 45-39, but in the second half, Zvezda depended on Milan Gurovic too much and Unics rolled first to a 16-point lead after 30 minutes and later finished off the guests in the last period. The win allows Unics to improve to 5-2 and becomes the new leader of the group as Zvezda drops to a same 5-2 but loses the top spot in the tiebreakers. Saulius Stombergas led the winners with 18 points. Sergey Chikalkin added 17, Darjus Lavrinovic 15 and Egor Meshcheryakov 14. Ksystof Lavrinovic had 5 points and 10 boards. For Crvena Zvezda, Gurovic was, omce more, the best scorer with 28 points, but only Billy Thomas reached also double digits for the guests with his 10 points.
Scoring aces Milan Gurovic and Saulius Stombergas didn't take long to start exchanging triples as the game was soon 8-8, but Stombergas soon added his second to make it 13-10. When the hosts had managed to pull a 5-point margin, Billy Thomas also drained his second three to keep Crvena Zvezda close and soon Gurovic also hit his second to make it a one-point game in the blink of an eye, 18-17. The game turned into a three-point shoot-out now with Mateen Cleaves joining the party, as both teams combined for 8 triples up to minute 9. However, 4 straight points by Egor Meshcheryakov left Unics ahead by 25-21 after 10 minutes. Depsite Dusko Savanovic's three to start the second quarter, Pero Antic maintained Zvezda alive now with a dunk and a pair of free throws for 30-25, until Vuk Radivojevic and Petr Samolylenko blasted one three for each side again. At this point, the accuracy from the arc went down for both sides and Unics used that to forge a bigger lead when Sergey Chikalkin scored for 41-32 in minute 17. Gurovic finally stopped the bleeding with a new triple for the guests, and two free throws by Antonio Burks allowed Zvezda to pull within 43-37 again. Petar Popovic finally closed the first half with a jumper for a Unics 45-39 edge.
Gurovic and Jarod Stevenson welcomed the second half with one triple each, and then Gurovic added three more free throws to make it 49-45. However, Meshcheryakov sparked a 9-0 run for Unics that put a 58-45 on the scoreboard in minute 25. Gurovic was the only offensive weapon of Crvena Zvezda as he reached 20 points with two more free throws, but Unics always found a different option when Chikalkin proved that with two jumpers to maintain the hosts' double-digit margin. When Stombergas appeared again with a new three and Ksystof Lavrinovic added a layup for 68-52, it looked like Unics was pulling away for good as after three quarters the hosts dominated by 69-52. And as if that was not enough, the Russian avalanche appeared for the last quarter. A 17-4 run of the hosts including five points by Chikalkin and six by Darjus Lavrinovic made it 86-56 in minute 35 to break the game open. Tadija Dragicevic and Burks scored straight buckets for Crvena Zvezda, and when the run improved to 0-6, Stombergas shut the guests with a new bomb from downtown for 87-62 and three minutes to go, securing Unics' win and its option to advance waiting the result of the game between EiffelTowers and Dexia Mons.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006