The upset of the week arrived in Malaga, Spain where Entente Orleanaise managed to shake Unicaja 72-88 on Thursday night. Orleans started winning by 4-8 and after that Unicaja took over. But a 0-7 run led by Cedric Banks and consistent scoring in the last period, allowed the French team to take control of teh game for good while the hosts' lack of concentration did the rest. The win, allows Orleans to imporve its record to 2-7 while Unicaja, already a Top 16 team, can only be second as this loss allows Olympiacos, an OT winner at Efes Pilsen, clinch first place in Group B. Banks led the winners with his 23 points including 5 of 8 triples. Justin Doellman added 18 and Ludovic Vaty posted 12 for the winners. For Unicaja, Georgios Printezis was the only player in double figures with his 18 points.
William Herve opened the offensive race in the game with his layup and soon, the game started with a fast pace as soon, Entente Orleanaise was leading by 4-8 after Cedric Banks' basket. Carlos Jimenez
replied with a three that put Unicaja close again and then Taquan Dean added a new one to give Unicaja the lead, 12-8. Cesar Lima closed a 10-0 run with his layup to make it 14-8. Orleans finally reacted
through Ludovic Vaty's bucket, but when Unicaja pressed hard on defense, the hosts managed to find spaces for open baskets as Jiri Welsch closed a fastbreak with a slam for 19-10. Austin Nichols and Vaty
gave some air the guests but the first quarter was closed when Shammond Williams lifted a layup for a 21-14 first quarter score.
Georgios Printezis and Jutin Doellman opened the scoring for both sides in the second quarter. Thanks to the free throw, Unicaja stayed ahead in the game but Banks' three pulled Orleans within 28-24 in
minute 14. Joel Freeland scored five straight points from the low post and free throw line to keep Unicaja in the driver's seat, but Vaty again and Adrien Moerman, who sank a three, kept Orleans alive and
kicking at 36-31 to close the first half. Despite being behind in the scoreboard, Orleans dominated the rebounds, 13-20, as Unicaja had only pulled two defensive ones. On the other hand, teh 12 assists by
Unicaja against Orleans' 5 made the difference that could be seen in the result at the break.
Printezis started the scoring race of the second half for Unicaja with a layup, as Unicaja was moving the ball in offense, perhaps too easily. Aldo Curti stole the ball from Robert Archibald, but on the
other end, the Unicaja player blocked the Orleans one as revenge. Soon however, Dean scored for the hosts and make it 40-31. Orleans struggled in offense and when Printezis blasted a three, it earned the
first double-digit lead of the night for the hosts, 43-31. The lack of concentration in offense of the hosts showed again and Archibald fought his way to the basket to force a timeout for the French team.
After that, Vaty showed to be still the most active player for Orleans, but Printezis did just the same on the Unicaja side to maintain the 14 points on the scoreboard. Doellman also stepped up for his team
with five straight points of his own that capped a 0-7 run. Unicaja stopped the bleeding but Orelans was determined to keep on trailing close by. Banks' three after Williams' basket allowe the guests to pull
within 4 points, 51-47 and soon enough Doellman added a new one after Unicaja's timeout to make it a one-point game, 51-50. Lima gave his team some air and Williams added free throws. But Orleans was
advancing three after three as Banks hit a new one, 55-53. A great move by Guillem Rubio in the paint launched Unicaja but Banks had his own private party beyond the arc and left a 57-56 score after 30
Curti blasted an 8-meter three to open the last period as Orleans grabbed its first lead since the 4-8 of the first quarter, 57-59. Jimenez replied with authority on the other end, but Orleans had found the
proper way to do things in the game and took another lead as Unicaja players started to act nervous. Doellman added his dunk-plus-foul to the recipe to earn Orleans a 60-64 edge, while Omar Cook took it up
on himself to keep Unicaja's scoring going. Doellman did the same for the guests as both defenses were starting to take over, forcing turnovers on each side. Luck was also on Orleans' side as Austin Nichols shot a three that was touched by Freeland and went in nonetheless, allowing the guests to climb to a 63-71 lead. Printezis reappeared when his team needed him the most, but with less than 4 minutes to go, Banks hit two free throws to keep Orleans at a safe distance. A full-on scoring war between Printezis and Banks started, and a new three by the latter made it a 10-point lead for the guests, 68-78. Anthony Dobbins managed to drive to the basket after two full possessions of Orleans to increase the lead as Unicaja collected turnovers in an obvious lack of focus. Orleans managed to secure the lead in the last plays to make sure it escaped victorious from Malaga.
Thursday, January 7, 2010