28march

UNICS Survives Overtime In Tallinn

UNICS defeated Kalev in Tallinn, 89-84. The visitors were in control much of the game, but gave up a late run from Kalev and needed a big shot from Keith Langford to force overtime. The Kazan star kept going in the extra period, helping his club escape with a hard-fought win.

Intro
Both teams were cautious to start the game, combining for nine points in the first five minutes. The tempo started to pick up late in the 1st quarter. Kalev got going with Gregor Arbet and Martin Dorbek, while Kazan's pick-and-roll paid dividends. The home team even led at the end of the period, 19-16.

Trailing 30-28 midway through the 2nd quarter, Kazan caught fire to finish the half. Arturas Milaknis made an impact off the bench, Keith Langford came alive, and Anton Ponkrashov knocked down a couple shots to give the visitors a 45-35 advantage at halftime.

Kalev clawed back to within a point to start the 3rd quarter, thanks to three straight 3-pointers from Sten Sokk and Rolands Freimanis.

Kazan responded, going up as much as nine in the 3rd quarter. Ponkrashov was a major factor for UNICS--scoring, distributing, forcing turnovers, cleaning up the glass and blocking shots.

Turning Point
The visitors led by 6-8 much of the 4th quarter, but another flurry of points from Sokk and Freimanis gave Kalev a two-point lead with 19 seconds remaining. At risk of suffering a major upset, Keith Langford drilled a clutch jumper and sent the game to overtime.

During the extra period, Langford scored another nine points to decide the outcome. Kalev simply didn't have the reserves for one more comeback.

Star Player
Anton Ponkrashov. Everyone's used to big numbers from Langford, but Ponkrashov stole the show for much of the game on Monday. The Russian guard finished two points shy of his personal scoring record (32 with Krasnye Krylia), adding 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Stat of the Game
60 of 88 - Langford and Ponkrashov scored the lion's share of the points for UNICS.

Quotes
Kalev head coach Alar Varrak:
- It's a very upsetting loss. We had two chances to win the game with a shot, but came up short. As for overtime, our opponent had Langford and we didn't. That's it.

Both Ponkrashov and Langford are very tall guards and tough to guard. That said, I'm satisfied with how my men played, especially on defense.

UNICS head coach Evgeny Pashutin:
- First of all, congratulations to my team. It wasn't easy today, but we managed to win. The biggest thing is that we demonstrated our resilience today. We were ready to battle, even though we didn't play our signature basketball today.
 

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