Eurocup: Cantu and Unics progress

Eurocup Banvit v Unics

It was a busy evening of Eurocup action on Wednesday as Round 7 was completed and the competition began to take shape. On the night four teams booked their places in the Last 32, including Ratiopharm Ulm and Khimki who both played last night. Unics Kazan will join them in the Last 32 after seeing off Banvit in Group G, while FoxTown Cantu also progress to the next stage from Group A.

In the rest of the nights action a total of 20 games were played around the continent and now as we get deeper into the second half of the Regular Season the groups begin to take shape.

Group A

FoxTown Cantu vs. Le Mans Sarthe, 88-86(OT)

Group A pace setters FoxTown Cantu needed overtime to claim victory over a resilient Le Mans team to continue to dominate the group. The Italian club looks impressive with a 7-0 record and after tonight´s game has progressed to the Last 32 of the Eurocup. After a good effort, French club Le Mans stays within touch in Group A and now sits 4th with a 3-4 record.

From the tip off the hosts took command and showed the kind of form that had put them comfortably at the top of Group A. An 8 point run without reply put the Italians 15-5 midway through the first 10 minutes and that lead would be maintained at the end of the period with the scores at 23-13.

Early in the second quarter Cantu continued to take the initiative and made it a 13 point game at 30-17. At this point it looked as though a home win was a certainty, but all credit must go to Le Mans as the team rallied and started to cut into the hefty lead. By the time the halftime buzzer sounded around Mapooro Arena the score had been slashed to 41-38.

Early in the second half the home team once again found a good balance between defense and attack and opened another 10 point cushion at 50-40, and later increased that to 55-42. With the game once again looking assured FoxTown kept up the pressure throughout the period until the scoreboard after 30 minutes read 61-51.

The hosts continued to look good throughout the start of the 4th period and with 6 minutes on the clock held a 9 point lead. Le Mans went into overdrive and over the remaining minutes cut into Cantu´s lead and actually took the lead with just two minutes left. From the brink of defeat Le Mans was close to victory and held a three point advantage, but FoxTown responded from downtown to force overtime.

Throughout the extra period the two teams traded baskets and the game was heading to the buzzer with Cantu with the narrowest of leads and the visitors missed a three pointer on the buzzer to give the win to the Italians.

Joe Ragland netted 23 points for the winners with Pietro Aradori hitting 15 points and collecting 7 rebounds. Maarten Leunen got 14 points including the vital three points that took the game to overtime.

Vaughn Duggins took the most points for Le Mans with 16 and was aided by JP Batista and DaShaun Wood each with 14.

Group G

Banvit Bandirma vs. Unics Kazan, 71-79

Unics Kazan will play in the Last 32 of the Eurocup this season after booking a place in the next stage with this hard fought road win over Banvit. The Russian outfit continues to top Group G with an unblemished record that now reads 7-0, while Turkish club Banvit slips to fourth with a 3-4 record.

Unics set the proverbial ball rolling in the first quarter by hitting the first bucket, but the home team quickly responded. The teams spent much of the quarter collecting baskets until the scores read 13-13. Kazan hit a quick seven points without reply before Banvit nailed three to put the score at 16-20 at the end of the first quarter.

At the start of the second period the Russian visitors again went on an unanswered seven point run and later in the quarter the team was 12 points in front. The hosts responded competently with the half drawing to a close and brought the score back to 30-36 heading into the coaches halftime talk.

Kazan continued to keep Banvit at arm´s length through minutes 20 to 30, with Banvit unable to take enough of an advantage to steal the lead. The home team did cut the margin to three points during the third, but once again Unics responded to take another double digit advantage. By time 30 minutes were on the clock the score read 49-57 in favour of the visiting team.

In the fourth the home team found an extra gear and cut the margin to just one point and for the first time in the game put Unics under real pressure. However, the Russian team showed resilience to close the game out and subdue the Banvit comeback.

Andrew Goudelock scored 22 points in a game in which Unics never trailed. Kostas Kaimakoglou netted 14 points, Tywain McKee amassed 12 and Nikos Zisis managed 10 points and 8 assists in the winning effort.

E.J. Rowland added 18 points for the losing team, while Chuck Davis put in a strong contribution of 10 points and 8 assists.

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