UNICS Kazan defeated Nizhny Novgorod at home in Game 4, 101-86 (24-24, 25-19, 26-13, 26-30).
UNICS: Maurice Ndour (24 + 9 reb), Stephane Lasme (18), Quino Colom (16 + 11 ast + 4 stl)
Nizhny Novgorod: Stevan Jelovac (27 + 9 reb), Petr Gubanov (20), Ivan Strebkov (11)
UNICS became the final team to clinch a berth in the Final Four, knocking out Nizhny Novgorod, 101-86, in Game 4 of their quarterfinal series. The visitors brought serious firepower on offense, led by 27 from Serbian star Stevan Jelovac, but Kazan simply overwhelmed Nizhny Novgorod’s defense in the rout.
Behind Maurice Ndour’s team-high 24 points on 11-13 shooting, UNICS shot 62% from the field, including 10-16 from beyond the arc. Quino Colom was also magnificent dishing out 11 assists to go with 16 points (4-6 on 3-pointers).
UNICS took control of the game in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, blowing open a tie game at the end of the opening period. Nizhny Novgorod only scored 32 points during the next 20 minutes and conceded a demoralizing 18-5 run to begin the 3rd quarter.
Kazan forward Stephane Lasme, who finished with 18, converted a big three-point play to start the run as UNICS ultimately secured a 19-point advantage at the end of the 3rd quarter.
Trailing by as much as 21 early in the 4th, Nizhny cut its deficit to eight with two minutes remaining thanks to a series of 3-pointers and UNICS turnovers.
But Jamar Smith hit a big jumper to bring push Kazan’s lead back to 10 and Lasme erased any doubt with an alley-oop from Smith with a little more than a minute to go.
UNICS advances in four games to the Final Four where it will face Khimki in the June 8 semifinals in Moscow. Despite missing out on the Final Four, Nizhny Novgorod was one of the League’s most improved teams this season and remains the only club besides CSKA to defeated UNICS in the VTB United League.
Mauric Ndour. The Senegalese big man had it all going on Thursday night, scoring 24 points to go with nine rebounds and a pair of blocks, including this gem.
48-18 – UNICS dominated in points in the paint, outscoring Nizhny by 30 behind big nights from Maurice Ndour and Stephane Lasme.
— VTB United League (@VTBUL) May 31, 2018
Nizhny Novgorod head coach Zoran Lukic:
– The quarterfinals have come to an end. Congratulations to UNICS on the win. They deserve to move on. We tried to be a worthy opponent in this round of the playoffs and I hope we managed to demonstrate good basketball and entertain the fans.
The final two minutes of the 3rd quarter were the key to the game. UNICS broke us. It was clear at that point who would win the game. I let everyone play in the 4th quarter and we managed to cut into the deficit and even get close, but unfortunately that was all we could manage.
UNICS head coach Dimitris Priftis:
– Congratulations to the players and the team on reaching the VTB League Final Four. I think we deserved this with our play over the course of the season. I knew immediately that this series with Nizhny would be very interesting and challenging. I’ve always said it’s a unique team–one that can play in the paint and on the perimeter. We had a tough time defending them. They play very smart. We played excellent defense in the second half, especially in the 3rd quarter. We hit a lot of open easy shots and pushed the pace. In the end, we earned a win.
Images of the Game