UNICS Russia defeated Astana Kazakhstan on the road, 83-79 (17-19, 26-17, 14-27, 26-16).
Astana: Anthony Clemmons (16 + 7 reb + 6 ast), J.J. O’Brien (16 + 5 reb), Michael Jenkins (12), Geoffrey Grosselle (10 + 6 reb)
UNICS: Errick McCollum (20), Artem Klimenko (16 + 11 reb), Jamar Smith (12), Pierria Henry (12)
After letting a seven-point halftime lead slip away, UNICS stormed back in the 4th quarter to defeat Astana on the road, 83-79.
This was a marquee match-up between top five teams and game lived up to its billing.
Astana delivered the first punch, leading by seven late in the 1st quarter, 19-12. UNICS responded with a 5-0 run to end the period and continued its momentum in the 2nd, outscoring Astana by nine to grab a 43-36 lead at halftime.
Errick McCollum scored eight of his game-high 20 in the 2nd quarter, including UNICS’s final five points of the first half.
Astana struck back with an 11-0 run midway through the 3rd quarter that turned a four-point deficit into a seven-point lead, 54-47.
Sparked by back-to-back dunks from Geoffrey Grosselle, the home team closed out the period with a six-point lead, only 10 minutes from yet another signature win and its first of 2019.
Джеффри Гроссейл не замечает сопротивление @unicsbasket 🔥
Geoffrey Groselle with the SLAM 🔥 pic.twitter.com/4UAmwIW1s7
— VTB United League (@VTBUL) January 12, 2019
UNICS fought back, finally tying the game 70-70 on a triple from Errick McCollum with 3:50 remaining. From there, neither team wanted to concede an inch.
After the visitors went up three, 77-74 on a three-point play by Pierria Henry, Astana’s J.J. O’Brien scored five straight, including a go-ahead triple that put the home team on top, 79-77, with less than a minute remaining.
Trent Lockett was fouled at the other end, making the first free throw. He missed the second, but in the scramble for the loose ball, the referee whistled for a jump ball giving possession back to UNICS.
The visitors capitalized in a big way. Jackie Carmichael broke free of Astana’s defense, soaring in for a dunk and drawing a foul from a scrambling Grosselle.
That gave UNICS an 81-79 lead and coach Dimitris Priftis decided to foul intentionally at the other end, sending O’Brien to the line for Astana. After carrying his team down the stretch, the American forward stumbled at the charity stripe, missing both freebies.
The visitors grabbed the rebound and streaked the other way, sealing a hard-fought win with two more free throws from Jamar Smith.
9 – number of turnovers committed by Astana leader Anthony Clemmons. It’s been almost four years since a player committed nine turnovers in a game (Viktor Zaryazhko, Krasnye Krylia on February 11, 2015).
Artem Klimenko. The Russian center recorded 16 points, 11 rebounds and two assists in just 17 minutes.