| Unicaja stayed undefeated atop the Group B standings by thrashing Olympiacos 86-68 in Malaga, Spain on Wednesday night. Unicaja improved to 2-0 and will be the only undefeated team in this group if Entente Orleanaise downed Lietuvos Rytas tomorrow. Meanwhile, Olympiacos went down to 1-1 and hosts L. Rytas next week. Taquan Dean led the winners with 19 points. Pooh Jeter added 11 while Joel Freeland and Robert Archibald each had 10 for Unicaja. Freeland also pulled down 11 rebounds for a double-double. Nikola Vujcic led Olympiacos with 17 points on 8-of-10 two-pointers. Milos Teodosic added 15 while Linas Kleiza had 10 for the Reds. Dean helped Unicaja to get ean early double-digit lead at 17-7 and got some help from Jeter to boost that margin to 30-18 after 10 minutes. Vujcic singlehandely brought Olympiacos within 36-32 midway through the second quarter but Dean helped Unicaja to restore a 48-38 margin at halftime. Archibald led an 11-0 run that broke the game open, 59-40, and Olympiacos never recovered.
Dean got Unicaja going with a three-pointer off a screen but driving layups by Josh Childress and Teodosic gave the Reds a 3-4 edge. Omar Cook struck from downtown, as Unicaja tried to speed up the game tempo and play very physical. Archibald sank free throws while Carlos Jimenez banked in a short shot for a 10-4 Unicaja edge. Olympiacos kept trying to attack the basket without much success while Archibald capped a 9-0 Unicaja run with more foul shots. Olympiacos went scoreless for 3 minutes until Teodosic downed a seven-bomb but a stop-and-pop jumper by Cook and a put-back layup by Dean made it a double-digit game, 17-7. Unicaja kept rolling, as former Olympiacos star Giorgos Printezis scored inside while Freeland dunked it in transition to make the Reds call timeout at 21-9. Vujcic scored twice around the basket but Guillem Rubio and Jiri Welsch kept Unicaja way ahead, 25-13. Teodosic nailed a triple but Olympiacos only managed to trade baskets now. Jeter answered from downtown and added a wild driving layup for a 12-point Unicaja lead, 30-18, after 10 minutes.
Saul Blanco found his first points right at the start of the second quarter but Theo Papaloukas took over with a reverse layup. Archibald and Yotam Halperin traded layups, as Olympiacos finally adjusted its defense, not allowing Unicaja to get easy shots and fast break points. Vujcic scored inside and Unicaja called timeout to modify its game plan. The hosts tried to slow down the game tempo but Vujcic added another layup to bring the Reds within single digits, 34-26. Dean sank foul shots, as Unicaja tried fullcourt pressure now. Vujcic stayed unstoppable, igniting a 0-6 run that Kleiza capped with a floating layup that brought Olympiacos within 36-32. Freeland rescued Unicaja with a layup-plus-foul that Kleiza turned into a four-play trying to sweep the ball from the hoop after the free throw. Papaloukas provided a highlight with a huge driving layup that Jimenez downed a corner triple for a 43-34 score. Kleiza answered from downtown but a red hot Dean followed a triple with a jumper to restore a double-digit Unicaja margin, 48-38, at halftime.
Von Wafer scored in penetration immediately after the break but free throws by Freeland and another three-pointer by Dean set the crowd on fire at 53-40. Olympiacos tried to feed Vujcic down low but he was double-teamed all the time now. Jiri Welsch sank free throws while Freeland added a six-meter jumper to make it a 17-point game, 57-40. Olympiacos kept struggling to score and free throws by Archibald capped an 11-0 Unicaja run. Patrick Beverley tried to change things with a driving layup - the Reds' first points in 4 minutes - and Vafer dunked it, but Unicaja kept finding easy points. Dean scored in penetration but Vujcic and Beverley kept Olympiacos within 63-47. Unicaja struggled to score now but Blanco rescued the hosts with a three-pointer, good for a 66-48 lead. Jimenez also struck from downtown to break the game open, 69-48. Blanco capped a 8-0 Unicaja run with free throws but Beverley brought the Reds within 71-50 after 30 minutes.
Olympiacos needed a quick comeback to keep its options alive but Unicaja kept full control of the game early in the fourth quarter. Freeland took over with a high-flying alleyoop dunk and the Reds kept finding it hard to score against the hosts' outstanding intensity, especially in defense. Jeter shined with a tough reverse layup that made it a 24-point game, 75-51. The outcome was clear already but both teams kept fighting hard for points differential, in what could be a decisive factor to finish atop this regular season group. Vujcic and Printezis traded layups while a jumper by Archibald kept Unicaja way ahead, 81-58. Unicaja did not lose control and stayed focused, not allowing Olympiacos to recover. Kleiza kept trying but everything was said and done already. Unicaja pleased its 8,900 fans in the stands with a well-deserved win while Olympiacos needs to bounce back right way to challenge for first place in this group.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009