Russian UNICS won on the road over Kazakhstan's «Astana» in overtime — 78:73 (22:19, 16: 6, 19:20, 9:21, 12: 7).
In the second quarter, Kazan made a weighty claim to the final victory: their defense blocked «Astana» all the ways to the ring, and the hosts managed to score only 6 points. However, after a long break, Astana changed markedly. Leonidas Kaselakis and Justin Carter made a spurt of accurate shoots - 17 out of 20 points scored by «Astana» in the third quarter. In the final game, the hosts continued to reduce the gap — they lagged only one point behind — 62:63 two minutes before the end of the game after a long-range shoot made by Anton Ponomarev.
In the decisive minutes of the game, the initiative was taken by Anton Ponkrashov, who made a sharp three-pointer. But Anthony Clemmons stroke back another long throw bringing the difference to 1 point again in 30 seconds before the end of the game. In the last attack, irrepressible Carter could bring «Astana» a sensational victory, but only realized another plan — overtime!
In an additional five-minute UNICS continued to bet on long-range shots — Ponkrashov shot two sharp throws behind the arc, and then Joaquin Colom succeded — the first accurate shoot for the whole game made by the Spanish player! It was also him, who made the winning point in the whole game, realizing two free throws and bringing the score to «-5» as a result. This difference became critical — hosts did not have time to catch up.
The most effective:
The head coach of «Astana» Kostas Flevarakis:
- I have a feeling that this season we miss two victories — I'm talking about games with Khimki and today's game with UNICS. A very insulting defeat. Everything was in our hands, but, unfortunately, we were not able to win. We did well in the second half and deserved to win. I'm glad that despite the problems we are ready to fight against big teams. Of course, there is a positive dynamics, we will continue to work on the errors and will go on preparing for the next games.
Head coach of «Astana» Dimitris Priftis:
- This was a very interesting game, we had the advantage in the first half, we owned the ball, hit almost all open shots and were quite effective. In the second half «Astana» had a zone defense, which brought us certain problems. Whatever it was, the game continued in overtime, where we were carried through by three-pointers. I would like to congratulate «Astana» and coach Kostas Flevarakis with a good game.
«Astana» will hold the next match on the road, on December 25, it will meet with the Moscow CSKA in the framework of the VTB United League.