BC Kyiv grabbed an important win in FIBA Europe League action on Saturday, beating Iscar Strauss Nahariya 83-72 to send the quarter-final series to a deciding game three on Wednesday.
Kyiv coach Renato Pasquali expressed his concern before the game at Nahariya's fast break capabilities, and 2 quick buckets by the Israeli side at the start of the second quarter seemed to confirm his fears.
Nahariya also switched from man-to-man defense to a zone, but Kyiv were able to make the neccesary adjustments and behind some strong inside play from Ioannis Giannoulis (14 first half points) and Marcelo Nicola (9 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists), stayed in front, 51-35 at halftime.
Kyiv consolidated their advantage in the third quarter and confidently increased their lead to as much as 21 points by the end of the period.
The visitors stepped up their defense in the final quarter, forcing Kyiv to miss a number of three-pointers which Nahariya converted into fast break baskets.
They reduced the lead to 8 points, but a Lamarr Greer 3-pointer gave Kyiv the breathing space they needed to close out the game.
Giannoulis led Kyiv with 20 points. Nicola and Greer added double-doubles scoring 12 and 11 points respectively and grabbing 10 rebounds apiece.
Erez Markovich top scored for Nahariya with 16 points.
Renato Pasquali, BC Kyiv Head coach:
"We played a great game against a very strong team. We knew we needed to win one of the first two match-ups and so far we coped with the task. If we can control the boards in Nahariya as well as we did today – we should be able to proceed into the final four."
Avi Ashkenazi, Iscar Head Coach:
“We played poorly on defense in the first half and put ourselves into difficult situations on offense. I am pleased we managed to get back in the game in the second half, and lost only by 11 points.”