UNICS Return Home And Romp

21 October 2008

UNICS proved that a week is a long time in basketball by overcoming a 14-point first-leg deficit to Energa Czarni to advance to the EuroCup Qualifying Round 2.

The Russia side rolled to an 89-50 win in Kazan on Tuesday to win the Qualifying Round 1 tie 151-126 on aggregate and set up a meeting with Hapoel Jerusalem in the next phase.

France international Tariq Kirksay led the way with 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists for  UNICS, who trimmed the overall deficit to just two by the end of the first quarter after outscoring Polish outfit Energa Czarni 25-13.

On top at 32-21 with 6:48 left in the second quarter, a Kirksay lay-up sparked an 11-0 run that left UNICS in front at 43-21 on the night, and gave them the lead in the tie for good.

By half-time, the advantage had ballooned to 54-30 and early in the fourth quarter UNICS had stretched the lead in the game to 63-32.

There was no way back for the visitors.

Croatia international Marko Popovic also had 17 points for UNICS. He did most of his damage from three-point range, making five of six.

Belarus international Vladimir Veremeenko had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the winners.

Energa Czarni turned the ball over 24 times compared to just 10 for the hosts.

Jason Straight scored 16 points in defeat.

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