After a shaky start to the season, FIBA Europe League champions Unics Kazan got their account into the black with an away win over CEZ Nymburk. The victory sees Kazan move into 3rd place in the group with a 5-4 record.
In a battle of point guards, it was Kazan's Shammond Williams who got the upper hand against Nymburk's Maurice Whitfield. Williams tallied 34 points on 9/13 shooting and a perfect 11/11 showing from the free throw line, while also dishing 7 assists. Kazan shot 58% from the floor as a team, while Nymburk made just 38%.
Despite the differences in shooting fortunes, the game remained close until the 4th quarter. The Russian team, however, were more agressive in the second half while Nymburk's shooting began to deteriorate.
Nymburk came back from a 10-point defecit in the final quarter thanks to Whitfield's leadership, but on the day Williams was just better and he took the game into his own hands. The former North Carolina guard ran the fast break to perfection, found his team-mates for easy baskets and made all his free throws to guide Kazan to the win.
Chris Anstey added 19 points to Williams' 34 and Alexander Miloserdov had a season high 18.
Maurice Whitfield finished with a team high 26 points for Nymburk.
Stanislav Eremine, Head Coach Unics Kazan:
"We are happy with this important win. We knew that we were expecting a very tough match with a team who had beaten us at home. We were well prepared. The first half was more equal, we did not rebound well. The second half was ours and the end was strong in the hands of Shammond Williams."
Shammond Williams, Unics Kazan:
"This was a very difficult and tough match. We had five meetings today about how to play this match so we were well prepared. We produced a good result and the whole team played very well."
Michal Jezdik, Head Coach CEZ Basketball Nymburk:
"The first half was good from our side, we played aggressively and it cost us much power which we missed at the end of the game. With a team like Kazan, you have to work hard for forty minutes, because they are very strong."
Maurice Whitfield, CEZ Basketball Nymburk:
"It was a very hard match with a bad ending for us. We made many mistakes on defense and we had bad communication. Kazan could score easy baskets and it was very hard to catch them."