Nizhny Novgorod defeated UNICS Kazan at home in Game 2, 77-74 (19-14, 13-24, 26-13, 19-23).
Nizhny Novgorod: Stevan Jelovac (29 + 5 reb), Petr Gubanov (20 + 9 reb), Jake Odum (15 + 6 ast), Vadim Panin (14 + 5 reb)
UNICS: Melvin Ejim (20), Maurice Ndour (12 + 6 reb), Quino Colom (11)
Nizhny Novgorod struck back in Game 2 of the quarterfinal series, upsetting #2 seed UNICS at home, 77-74, behind a dominant performance from forward Stevan Jelovac.
The home team lost by 18 points in Game 1, but Saturday night was a different story. Zoran Lukic’s men improved their 3-point shooting by 34% over Wednesday’s defeat (48% vs. 14%), and finished a perfect 16-16 at the free-throw line.
The home team was also effective on defense, limiting Jamar Smith and Quino Colom to a combined 9-29 from the field, while keeping Kazan’s other stars mostly in check.
The game featured big swings in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. UNICS erased a five-point 1st-quarter deficit to go in front by six at halftime, 38-32.
Nizhny fired back with a 13-point margin in the 3rd quarter to lead by seven entering the final period.
UNICS opened the 4th on a 7-0 run, sparked by Anton Ponkrashov’s triple. After cruising to victory in Game 1, the visitors looked likely to dash Nizhny’s upset hopes.
But the home team had different ideas. Jake Odum and Vadim Panin drilled back-to-back 3-pointers and Sergey Toporov added a lay-up to put Nizhny back in the driver’s seat with five minutes remaining.
UNICS hung around. Colom, Ejim and Ponkrashov hit big shots down the stretch to make it a two-point game, 73-71, with less than a minute to go.
But Nizhny took care of business at the free-throw line (Jelovac and Gubanov combined to go 4-4) and Colom’s pull-up 3-pointer with 10 seconds on the clock was too little too late.
Nizhny springs the upset and evens the series at one game apiece. The teams return to the court on Monday evening.
11-23 (48%) – Nizhny’s three-point shooting was the key to the victory.
This was Kazan’s first loss this season to a team not named CSKA in the VTB United League.
Monday, May 28 at 8:00 PM (8:00 MSK)
Images of the Game