The Euroleague Qualifying tournament entered its second day as the remaining round 1 games were dealt with. In this win or bust contest, the two losers suffer the heartbreak of elimination, while the winners progress and continue to fight for the golden price, a solitary entry in the Euroleague Regular season. Here’s how the Day 2 games panned out.
Unics Kazan vs. Stelmet Zielona Gora, 90-86
This close fought game saw last season’s Euroleague debutants Stelmet Zielona Gora crash out in Oostend during the Euroleague Qualifying round. As for Russian club Unics Kazan, it moves to a do or die semi-final contest against Hapoel Jerusalem tomorrow evening.
Unics raced into the lead during the first quarter, looking livelier in the paint than their opponents and opening a 23-13 lead after 10 minutes. That ten point cushion would prove important later in the game, but in the second quarter the Russians lengthened their lead with a 23-19 frame. At the halftime buzzer there was plenty for Stelmet Zielona Gora to do, with the scoreboard 46-32 against them. The Polish team found a response in the third term and finally started to get the better of Kazan, winning the quarter 18-22 to make it 64-54 after half hour on court. Gora erupted in the final stanza and streamed in 32 points, but Unics kept pace with 26 of their own and those early points in the first half proved the difference at the buzzer.
Keith Langford and Curtis Jerrells will be men to watch this season and they both picked up 22 points here. Kostas Kaimakoglou followed with 12 points and Viktor Sanikidze scored 13.
Steven Burtt hit back for Gora with a game high 30 points, while Daniel Johnson claimed 16 in the loss.
Hapoel Jerusalem vs. CEZ Nymburk, 94-84
Israeli club Hapoel Jerusalem passed Czech powerhouse CEZ Nymburk to book its passage to the next stage where the team will play Unics Kazan.
A close first quarter saw both teams trouble the bucket consistently, but Jerusalem managed to last the pace and stole a 24-21 lead at the first split. The Israeli club equalled its scoring exploits from the first quarter in the second, hitting 24 points and holding Nymburk to 18. A nice lead had been opened up by halftime, with Hapoel leading 48-39. The trend of the game continued in the third stanza as Jerusalem once again sent 24 points through the basket, this time CEZ trailing with 17 points. After the final break the score was 72-56 and Jerusalem was in command, and despite a strong finish from the Czech team, the spoils went to the Israeli team.
Bracey Wright stood out for Jerusalem in this Euroleague Qualifying game with 22 points, while Joseph Jones took 16 points and 8 rebounds and Derwin Kitchen accounted for 15 points.
Darius Washington doubled up with 18 points and 10 assists in the losing effort, with Chester Simmons also scoring 18 points.