Kyiv struggled offensively during the first few possessions, however, lead by Marcus Norris, who scored 7 points and added 2 steals during the first 4 minutes, they managed a 19-6 run.
|Marcus Norris (left) had a game high 23 points for Kyiv|
UNICS won the second quarter, but the home side still had a 40-36 lead at halftime. In the third, Kazan finally managed to even things up and held the game close until the final buzzer.
The visitors’ main offensive thrust came from Chris Anstey and Sergei Toporov who hit key three-pointers in the Kazan comeback, while Shammond Williams remained a constant threat with his penetrating play.
Marcus Norris was at the head of BC Kyiv’s game, getting help from his teammates, especially Kresimir Loncar, who finished the game with 19 points.
A series of mistakes by both teams forced an overtime, at the end of which it was the home side who benefited from a small slice of luck.
With 7 seconds in overtime remaining and Kyiv up by 3 points, Petr Samoilenko deliberately missed the second of 2 free throws. Chris Anstey came up with the offensive rebound, but Norris was in the right place at the right time and he managed to steal the ball.
Norris was fouled immediately and had a chance to ice the game, but missed both free throws. Norris' error left Kazan with 4 seconds to save the game, and although Williams advanced the ball past the halfcourt line, the Russians were unable to get a shot off before the buzzer.
“This game was tough. There were two good teams on the court and, in respect to UNICS, I have to say we were luckier in the end. They are a very strong team – totally different from the one we played against in Kazan. They’ve spent a lot of time together and now, I recognize the team that won the FIBA Europe title last year.
Lamarr Greer didn’t demonstrate his usual level of play, but we all know that because of his family situation he was forced to stay in the U.S. for some time and miss some practice time – that could be the explination. Luckily for us, Marcus stepped up and led the team to victory. He had great help from Loncar as well as other players who got on the court and contributed.
We prepared for the game together. I considered my players’ advice and ideas. I am glad that most of the things we planned for the game worked out.”
Stanislav Eremin, Head Coach of UNICS:
“Looking at the statistics one can see that we won almost everything, except for the game itself. We had a good game and deserved the win as much as Kyiv. Unfortunately for us, Alexander Miloserdov twisted his ankle during yesterday’s practice, therefore I did not have a chance to let Shammond have some rest. The 45 minutes he spent on the court could explain some of the mistakes he committed.”