UNICS couldn’t catch Samara

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Having shown a low percentage of hits from the game (39%), UNICS released Samara by a double-digit distance. Then our team eliminated the gap from "-16" to "-5", but failed to catch up with the opponent. The result is a defeat from the reigning Cup of Russia winner in a test match with a score of 71:78. We draw conclusions, we move on!

Khayretdinov Cup. 1/2 finals.
UNICS (Kazan) – Samara - 71:78 (17:16, 10:21, 24:21, 20:20).
UNICS: Macon (14+3 assists+2 steals), Labeyrie (10+6 rebounds), Brown (10+4 rebounds), Zaitcev (10+2 rebounds), Reynolds (9+7 rebounds+1 blocked shot), Hunter (8+7 rebounds), Kulagin (5+2 rebounds), Ilnitsky (3+1 block shot), Dimitrijevic (1+5 assists+4 rebounds), Tkachenko (1).
Samara: Reese (18+5 assists+5 rebounds), Knight (15+6 rebounds+4 assists), Ennis (12+3 rebounds).

Velimir Perasovic put the following starting five on the floor: Nenad Dimitrijevic, Jalen Reynolds, Daryl Macon, Louis Labeyrie and Stanislav Ilnitsky.

UNICS started the game from a position of strength and achieved a comfortable 8-point lead to the equator of the opening quarter – 14:6 after Reynolds' end-one through Lazarev and his dunk in the next possession. However, then the white-greens completely lost their aim, which the reigning Russian Cup winner did not fail to take advantage of. Samara seized the initiative, reacted with a 26:8 spurt and ran a double–digit distance by the big break - 27:37. Our guys had a disastrous shot – 18% three-pointers (2/11) and 33% from the game (10/30).

At the start of the second half, Samara managed to consolidate the lead to the maximum "+16" – 33:49. Perasovic made adjustments in the timeout, and Kazan began to return to the game step by step. Kulagin from the free throw line sent the teams to the final break with a 7-point gap (51:58), and Reynolds in the opening of the 4th quarter brought UNICS to a distance of "-5" - 53:58.

It would seem that now UNICS will put the squeeze on the opponent. But 7:20 before the buzzer, Knight scores with an average, returning a comfortable double–digit difference to the scoreboard - 53:63. The white-greens made a new attempt to resurrect the intrigue. Zaitcev's three points and Brown's spectacular dunk brought UNICS closer to the distance of a pair of possessions – 53:58 6 minutes before the end of the match. However, 6 easy points in response from Samara roll us back to the starting position – 58:69 after Knight's free throws to the equator of the final quarter.

The final attempt to save the game was made by Perasovic's wards in the last two minutes of the game. Macon took the initiative and made a lay-up. With "-6", UNICS had every chance to sneak up even closer to their opponents, but Macon and Labeyrie's open long-range shots did not reach the goal. Knight scores easy points from under the basket and puts an end to the match - 78:71 victory of Samara.

We continue to prepare for the season. On Sunday, September 11, at 15.00 on the floor of the "Nagorny" Sports complex in Nizhny Novgorod, our team will play a match for the third place in the Khayretdinov Cup.


Velimir PERASOVIC, BC UNICS head coach 

«It was the worst game we played in the current offseason. Many points are quite understandable, because some basketball players have only recently joined the team and are not yet ready to play the way we want. I think we need to improve a lot to be competitive. Today we made a lot of mistakes and performed badly in attack. We scored only 10 points in 15 minutes, which is unacceptable. But we have enough time ahead to approach the start of the season in optimal shape».

Daryl MACON, BC UNICS guard:

«It was an up and down game for us. Samara ran away, and we tried our best to regain the lead, but we did not succeed. Obviously, we are still learning the system and getting used to each other. We still have a lot of work ahead of us. But I think that everything will be fine with us as soon as we establish team chemistry».

Vyacheslav ZAITCEV, BC UNICS guard:

«We started the game well, but then Samara seized the initiative and went into a breakaway. We managed to get back into the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but in the decisive minutes we were a little short of victory. We will thoroughly analyze the mistakes and prepare for tomorrow's match».


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