Jankunas, Westermann leads Zalgiris to road win in Kazan 11
Zalgiris Kaunas stayed in the hunt for the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs by downing host Unics Kazan 82:80 at Basket Hall Kazan on Friday.
Zalgiris improved to 12-14 and is two wins behind eighth-place Anadolu Efes Istanbul. Already-eliminated Unics dropped to 7-19 and suffered its ninth consecutive regular season loss.
Paulius Jankunas led the winners with 21 points. Leo Westermann added 12 while Antanas Kavaliauskas, Brock Motum and Lukas Lekavicius each had 10 for Zalgiris.
A recovered Keith Langford led Unics with 27 points and surpassed the previous record for points in a single EuroLeague season. He now has 539 points this season, 14 more than the previous record of 525 set by Nando De Colo of CSKA Moscow last season. Art Parakhouski added 15 points, Quino Colom had 14 and 9 assists while Latavious Williams got 12 points for Unics.
As many as five Unics players scored 6 points or more in the first half, as Unics limited turnovers to just 4 and pulled down 6 offensive rebounds to get a 43:42 lead. Small details made the difference in this game: Unics entered the final minute with a 77:76 lead but Westermann buried a go-ahead three-pointer, Langford missed at the other end, Zalgiris drew a couple of non-shooting fouls before Jankunas made free throws that let the guests celebrate a crucial victory.
Langford got Unics going with a three-pointer and a mid-range jumper. Parakhouski scored twice in the paint to give the hosts a 9:4 lead. Augusto Lima stepped up with a dunk and an inside basket, but Parakhouski and Langford kept Unics fully in charge at 17:9. The visitors found a go-to guy in Motum, who scored 7 points in a 2-13 run that Edgaras Ulanovas capped with free throws for a 22:19 Zalgiris lead. Williams took over with consecutive dunks but a layup by Kavaliauskas helped Zalgiris regain a 24:23 lead after 10 minutes.
A running layup by Lekavicius and free throws by Jankunas kept Zalgiris ahead, 30:28. Evgeny Voronov and Colom fueled a 7:0 run that gave Unics a 35:30 margin. Jankunas followed free throws with a dunk in a 6:0 Zalgiris run but Marko Banic and Williams helped Unics regain a five-point lead, 43:38. Free throws by Arturas Milaknis and a driving layup by Paulius Valinskas drew Zalgiris within 43:42 at halftime.
Jankunas hit from beyond the arc and Westermann added a layup off a steal for a 47:43 Zalgiris lead after the break. Langford and Parakhouski rescued Unics and a jumper by Williams put the hosts back ahead, 53:52. Jankunas and Renaldas Seibutis fueled a 6:0 Zalgiris run but a driving layup by Langford kept Unics within 57:58. Kavaliauskas stepped up with a three-point play and Jankunas added a layup, helping Zalgiris extend its margin to 64:60 after 30 minutes.
Parakhouski dunked and Colom struck from downtown but Motum and an unstoppable Westermann made the hosts call timeout at 65:71. Lekavicius hit a three but Williams, Colom and Langford combined for all the points in a 10:0 run that put Unics in charge, 75:74. Lekavicius hit a jumper and Westermann bettered Langford’s free throws with a bomb from downtown for a 79:77 Zalgiris lead with 53.5 seconds left. Free throws by Jankunas sealed the outcome down the stretch.