Turkish Airlines EuroLeague fans were not the only ones surprised by UNICS Kazan’s blowout of league leader AX Armani Exchange Milan. The dominant victory surprised even UNICS coach Velimir Perasovic.
UNICS equaled a club record by draining 14 three-pointers in routing Milan 97-71 to win its fourth game in the last five. Isaiah Canaan (22 points), OJ Mayo (20) and John Brown (19) all scored career highs against a Milan side that was ranked number one in defense having allowed just 67.9 points per game and keeping opponents to just 28.2% shooting on three-pointers.
“After the game we had today, it’s hard to find an explanation,” admitted Perasovic, whose team made 14 of 29 three-pointers (48.3%). “I couldn’t believe it. This is the most solid team in the EuroLeague early in the season with a great defense. For me it was unbelievable. This is a surprise. The performance of Milan was amazing. They beat Fenerbahce by 25 points away. They beat Barcelona. They had an amazing start to the season.”
UNICS had no regard for the much-hailed Milan defense. In the second quarter, Mayo and Canaan combined for 5 three-pointers in a big 25-7 run. Canaan added 2 more triples among 4 three-pointers connected in a 20-7 surge in the third quarter as the lead grew to 22 points.
“It feels good to get a good win on our home court against a good team. We just tried to feed off the crowd. We worked hard all week and it really took a team effort tonight,” said Canaan, whose 6 three-pointers tied a UNICS club record in the EuroLeague.
While most of the headlines in the win over Milan will be about UNICS’s three-pointers, the big story is the Russian side once again shutting down its opponents.
In UNICS’s five wins this season, the team has allowed just 68.0 points. UNICS’s opponents have scored 78.5 points per game in the team’s five losses.
“The key is our defense. When you play with this energy you can also get some baskets which you normally wouldn’t get. So I am very happy,” Coach Perasovic added.
Happy and a bit surprised.