Top 16 Round 6 - March 20, 2008 CET: 19:00 Local time: 19:00 - PALACIO DE LOS DEPORTES J.M. MARTIN CARPENA

Records

Ave.   Ave.
0-0 Final Four 0-0
0-0 Playoffs 0-0
2-3 Top 16 2-3
10-4 Regular Season 6-8
12-7 Overall 8-11

Referees

Crew Chief
BRAZAUSKAS, ROMUALDAS, Lithuania
Referee
JOVCIC, MILIVOJE, Serbia
Umpire
SUTULOVIC, ZORAN, Montenegro

Team Stats

Ave.   Ave.
76.7 Points 73.5
32.7 Rebounds 29.8
9.3 O. Rebounds 9.2
23.5 D. Rebounds 20.6
13.1 Assists 10.8
8.2 Steals 11.2
3.3 Blocks 2.7
14.5 Turnovers 12.3
52.7 % 2PT 49.7 %
37.7 % 3PT 33.6 %
76.5 % FT 72.2 %
86.8 Index 68.9

Player Stats

Ave.   Ave.
13.9 / HAISLIP, MARCUS Points 13.9 / Lorbek
5.4 / Ndong Rebounds 5.8 / Lorbek
2.1 / Ndong OR 1.9 / Lorbek
3.5 / Welsch DR 3.8 / Lorbek
2.8 / Welsch Assists 2.8 / Ukic
1.5 / Welsch Steals 2.3 / Hawkins
1.4 / Ndong Blocks 1.1 / Lorbek
2.1 / Welsch Turnovers 2.4 / Ray
69.0 % / Gabriel 2PT 57.0 % / Lorbek
50.0 % / Gabriel 3PT 66.7 % / FUCKA, GREGOR
92.7 % / Kus FT 87.2 % / Ray
11.4 / Welsch Index 16.3 / Lorbek

THE TAKE

Two teams hopeful of advancing to the Quarterfinal Playoffs meet on Thursday when Unicaja hosts Lottomatica Roma at the Martin Carpena Arena in Malaga, Spain. The two teams enter the game tied with 2-3 records, the same as AXA FC Barcelona, which is in second place in Group G due to a tiebreaker. That advantage will send Barca into the playoffs if it wins its game on Thursday against Group G leader CSKA. However if Barcelona loses, the winner of this Unicaja/Roma matchup will be waiting to pick up the spoils. Roma defeated Unicaja 75-67 last month in the Italian capital as Roko-Leni Ukic scored 19 and Ibrahim Jaaber hustled his way to 7 rebounds and 8 steals in 10 minutes off the bench. Unicaja will again miss injured Carlos Cabezas, who returned to the club since the first Roma game, but is again sidelined with an injury. Even without Cabezas, head coach Sergio Scariolo has a deep backcourt to work with, led by Davor Kus, Jiri Welsch, Bojan Popovic and team captain Berni Rodriguez. Meanwhile Roma has an equally deep guard rotation featuring Ukic, David Hawkins, Allan Ray, Jon Stefansson and Jaaber. In the paint, Unicaja turns to star power forward Marcus Haislip, who had 20 points and drew 7 fouls last time against Roma, and centers Daniel Santiago and Boniface NDong. Forward Carlos Jimenez, the only player to start every Top 16 game for Unicaja, is another impact player on the frontline. Roma relies on Erazem Lorbek as its main interior weapon, and players like Gergor Fucka, Alessandro Tonolli, Roberto Gabini or Andrew Crosariol can have varied roles on any given night. Another important player in the Roma lineup whose contributions cannot be seen on the stat sheet is swingman Rodrigo De La Fuente. Unicaja and Roma are two of the three lowest-scoring teams in the Top 16 and have dished the fewest assists so far. Unicaja has committed the fewest fouls in the Top 16 and Roma has received the fewest. On paper these teams match up well against one another, but Unicaja must be considered the favorite, as it is undefeated at home this season and has won 17 straight in Malaga, while Roma is just 2-7 on the road this season. However Roma also has the experience needed to rise to the occasion and challenge for a major win in what could be a very exciting contest with very high stakes.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Euroleague.net

Quotes Head Coaches

SCARIOLO, SERGIO
Unicaja
"Of course, we are not reaching one of the most important games of our season in optimal physyical conditions. That's why the players and everyone have to focus to give it all against an opponent which is going through a sweet moment, that features athleticism and atypical play with which we have to be very careful. Our fans will be crucial in a complicated moment. The work of the team will be to show the crowd that we are not going to surrender and that we deserve all the support they can give us."
REPESA, JASMIN
Lottomatica Roma
"It's a very important game, even if a very difficult one. Unicaja has defeated CSKA whose goal is to win the Euroleague. That demonstrates how difficult it is to play the game in Malaga. Furthermore Unicaja Malaga has never lost at home. The key is to keep concentration and play at 100%"

Players

NDONG, BONIFACE
Unicaja
"Very important game. We all know that we have to win first and then wait for AXA FC Barcelona to lose at home, but let's concentrate on our game now. We know that we can win by one point only and then wait. The crowd is very important in every game and we will need all the help and energy we can use to win. We are having many injuries during this season but we have other players that can step up."
LORBEK, ERAZEM
Lottomatica Roma
"Even if we won the first game in Rome, we know we have to face a very difficult match. It will be a completely different game, as Unicaja is much more stronger when plays at home and the crowd will try to influence on the game. They have great ambitions and we know we will have to fight a lot."
Carlos Jimenez - Unicaja A valiant effort to keep an attempted return to the Final Four alive didn't work as Unicaja's 79-58 home win over Lottomatica Roma in their Top 16, Group G finale was not enough to get the winners to the playoffs again. Unicaja finished tied for second place at 3-3 with AXA F.C. Barcelona, but the latter advanced by the difference of a single point in the 1-1 series record between those two teams. Unicaja played tough from the opening tip with the idea that group winner CSKA might stop Barcelona at home in a game played simultaneously across Spain, but it was not to be. Roma, which would also have advanced had it won and Barcelona lost, wilted after halftime under Unicaja's relentless defensive pressure. Jiri Welsch and Terrel Castle led the winners with 15 points each, while Carlos Jimenez added a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Marcus Haislip had 10 and 8, respectively. Uncaja's defense starred most, however, holding Erazem Lorbek scoreless as only Rodrigo De la Fuente with 15 points and Roko-Leni Ukic with 11 reached double digits for Roma, which also hurt itself with 12-for-22 free-throw shooting.

Starting in place of injured Carlos Cabezas, point guard Bujan Popovic made a baseline jumper to start the scoring for Unicaja, then Haislip followed his own miss at 4-0. De la Fuente got loose for a layup to get Roma rolling. The visitors took three fouls on the next Unicaja possession, however, which finished with Jimenez drilling a triple for a 7-2 lead. Unicaja center Daniel Santiago got hit with his second offensive charging foul and went to the bench, but Haislip added 3 points for Unicaja before De la Fuente and Ukic scored inside for the visitors. Welsch and Boniface Ndong made it 14-6 as Unicaja continued to get to the foul line. Jimenez hit another triple then, forcing a Roma timeout at 17-6. Roma came out and found Gregor Fucka for a reverse layup. After Welsch and Hawkins traded free throws, Ibby Jabber came out of nowhere for a bucket to get Roma within 19-12 after 10 minutes.

Rodrigo De La Fuente - Lottomatica RomaRoma's resurgence continued when Jon Stefansson opened the second quarter with a three-point bomb, then Fucka put in a free throw and a two-point basket. It was 19-18 and nerves were still evident in unforced giveaways and misses, but some great defense includes Alessandro Tonolli rejecting a fastbreak layup try by Castle. Unicaja's 7 minutes without anything but free throws ended with hook and bank shots by the same player, German Gabriel, to make it 23-18, cause for a Roma timeout. The visitors returned to get a put-back by De la Fuente, and when Castle answered from downtown, Ukic did the same for Roma at 26-23. Next, Fucka spun elegantly in the paint for a layup, but Castle launched from beyond the arc again. Ukic answered with a running jumper then fed De la Fuente on a classic dribble-free fastbreak for the tying layup at 29-29. Fucka could have put Roma ahead, but missed his fifth of six free throw tries so far. Unicaja took advantage with a reverse by Welsch and free throws by Popovic to lead 33-29 at halftime.

Unicaja went straight inside to start the second half, and got a basket-plus-free throw from Haislip. When Popovic drove for a layup, the lead was suddenly at its highest yet, 38-29. Fucka returned for Roma and immedately scored in close, but Popovic blew in for another layup, got fouled and hit the free throw for the first double-digit lead, 41-31. Unicaja's defense gave Roma no good looks, and gave up only a free throw to De la Fuente. Next, Welsch lifted up for a triple before he was intentially fouled on a steal, hitting both free throws. At 45-32, the hosts were threatening to run away. Ukic finally scored an acrobatic basket and De la Fuente fired from the corner to steady the visitors with a 45-37 scoreboard. Welsch missed both of his free throws, and Roberto Gabini kept Roma's rally going with a huge triple. Jimenez got added a point for Unicaja at the line, but Stefannson got a backdoor three-point play that also drew Santiago's fourth foul. At 46-43, it seemed like a whole new ballgame. After a timeout, however, Jimenez lifted Unicaja's spirits with his third three-pionter, then downed 2 free throws to make it 51-43. Then came a killer shot, Castle banking in a three-pointer from the wing to restore the double-digit difference at 54-43. Hawkins got to the line in the final minute, but only enough to cut Unicaja's lead to 54-46.

Terrel Castle - UnicajaNerves took over again as Ndong and Gabriel missed all 4 free throws between them to start the final quarter. Hawkins didn't miss his, however, and made it 54-48 before crowd favorite Berni Rodriguez did not waste an open three-point look. When Welsch followed him from the opposite wing, Unicaja was fully in charge again, 60-48. Ndong and Castle combined on 7 consecutive points to lengthen the lead to 67-50. Even though Stefansson and De la Fuente hit triples for Roma, the air went out of both teams as news came down that Barcelona had already beaten CSKA by a point to take Group G's last qualifying spot for the playoffs. An extended exchange of free throws was broken only by Castle's fourth three-pointer to finish the game and bring on an extended exchange of hand-shakes and wishes of better luck in the future.

Thursday, March 20, 2008
Euroleague.net
Referees: BRAZAUSKAS, ROMUALDAS (LTU), JOVCIC, MILIVOJE (SRB), SUTULOVIC, ZORAN (MNE)
Attendance: 9900
By Quarter1234
Unicaja19142125
Lottomatica Roma12171712
End of Quarter1234
Unicaja19335479
Lottomatica Roma12294658
Head coach: SCARIOLO, SERGIO
Unicaja
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
4 POPOVIC, BOJAN 20:36 9 3/3 0/1 3/3   3 3 1   1     1 4 14
5 RODRIGUEZ, BERNI 25:09 5 0/1 1/3 2/2   1 1 5         1 1 8
7 KUS, DAVOR 8:23   0/1 0/1                       -2
9 WELSCH, JIRI 24:21 15 1/1 2/6 7/10 1 3 4 2 2       2 5 19
12 NDONG, BONIFACE 14:47 7 1/2   5/7           2 1   3 4 4
13 GABRIEL, GERMAN 11:35 4 2/4 0/1 0/2   3 3   1 3 1 1 1 4 3
16 PRESTES, PAULO 5:42 2 0/1   2/2   2 2           2 1 2
20 JIMENEZ, CARLOS 21:47 12   3/4 3/4   10 10 1 1 1     3 3 21
24 HAISLIP, MARCUS 35:19 10 4/8   2/3 2 6 8   1   2     3 19
25 SANTIAGO, DANIEL 10:36         1   1     4     5 5 -3
30 CASTLE, TERREL 20:40 15 0/2 4/4 3/4           2   1 3 2 8
34 SANDERS, MELVIN 1:05                              
Team             1 1   1           2
Totals 200:00 79 11/23 10/20 27/37 4 29 33 9 6 13 4 2 21 32 95
47.8% 50% 73%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Head coach: REPESA, JASMIN
Lottomatica Roma
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
7 FUCKA, GREGOR 24:21 9 4/5 0/2 1/6   2 2 1   1     5 5 3
8 TONOLLI, ALESSANDRO 22:20           2 2 1   1 2   3   1
9 STEFANSSON, JON 25:12 9 1/3 2/6 1/1   3 3   1 1     3 1 4
12 LORBEK, ERAZEM 12:45   0/1 0/1     2 2     2     2 3 -1
16 CROSARIOL, ANDREA 2:55                              
17 DE LA FUENTE, RODRIGO 27:28 15 4/6 2/2 1/4 2 2 4 1         3 2 14
20 UKIC, ROKO 28:51 11 3/9 1/4 2/2 1 3 4 4 1 3     3 1 6
22 GABINI, ROBERTO 15:47 3   1/3     1 1   2 1     5 2  
25 JAABER, IBRAHIM 18:41 4 2/9 0/1 0/1 1 2 3 1   1   3 5 3 -7
34 HAWKINS, DAVID 21:40 7 0/3 0/1 7/8 1 3 4 3 3 1   1 3 4 11
Team           3 1 4   1 1         4
Totals 200:00 58 14/36 6/20 12/22 8 21 29 11 8 12 2 4 32 21 35
38.9% 30% 54.5%
This game is not yet played

Head Coaches

SCARIOLO, SERGIO
Unicaja
"We played a very good game tonight, with a lot of concentration and intensity. There were two keys to this game. First, we managed to play good defense on Erazem Lorbel and second, our great ball circulation against Lottomatica's dangerous defense. I want to congratulate Jiri Welsch and Carlos Jimenez for being an example of how to play in pain despite their physical problems. I also want to congratulate our playmakers Terrell Castle and Bojan Popovic for their great work tonight. It is a shame that we did not arrive to the Top 16 with the best physical condition. We did what we could but did not qualify in the end. The club goal was to make it to the Top 16 and we achieved that one. We step out of the Euroleague with our head high and we will leave the Final Four appearance for next season. If we had a full, healthy team, we would have been in the playoffs."
REPESA, JASMIN
Lottomatica Roma
"Congratulations to Unicaja. They played better and wanted to win the game. Maybe the final score doesn't reflect what happened on court. I am satisfied with the game my team had, but not so much with the opening minutes in the first and third quarters, when we allowed too many easy baskets in transition. Three-pointers by Terrell Castle and Carlos Jimenez broke the game open. We had problems with Erazem Lorbek, who was injured. It is very complicated to win the game."

Players

WELSCH, JIRI
Unicaja
"We had a good game. We had the Quarterfinal Playoffs in mind but couldn't reach our goal. We know have to look forwards and do well in the Spanish League, with more time to recover from one game to the next. Not getting any road wins in the Top 16 was a key factor for us and this is what made us step out of the competition."
DE LA FUENTE, RODRIGO
Lottomatica Roma
"The game was broken when it was known that Barcelona had qualified to the playoffs. We managed to stay in the game for 35 minutes and showed we can compete against any team. The fact that Barcelona won doesn't surprise me, because it is tough to win at Palau Blaugrana even when CSKA Moscow. Barcelona was the team that avdanced to the playoffs and I want to wish them luck."
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