The rebirth of Unicaja in Group B continued on Wednesday with a commanding 87-74 victory in Malaga over visiting Montepaschi Siena. Unicaja never trailed in the game and led by double digits from the first quarter onward to take its first victory at home and lift its record to 3-2. Siena could not score consistently and could not stop Unicaja for any more than a couple minutes at a time, and thus saw its record fall to 2-3. Luis Bullock led the charge for the winners with 20 points, while Adam Wojcik came of the bench for 17 more. Carlos Cabezas added 11 for the winners and Milan Gurovic 10. For Siena, Roberto Chiacig finished with 15 points, Alphonso Ford 13 and Curtis McCants 11. Mirsad Turkcan had another double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds. It was not enough, however, as Unicaja won the overall rebounding war 40-22 with 9 each by Ademola Okulaja and Frediric Weiss and 7 by Gurovic.
Unicaja got off on the right foot in a big way as Okulaja and Gurovic drained triples as the hosts roared off to a 9-0 lead. Giancarlo Marcaccini stopped the drought for Siena with his own three for Siena, but Chuck Kornegay answered immediately with three-point basket and foul shot underneath. Siena finally got the ball inside for two baskets by Chiacig and one by Turkcan to pull within 12-9, but that gave the visitors some false confidence. Unicaja would finish the quarter as surely as it started it, with another 9-0 run, this time capped by Thierry Zig's first shot in the home uniform, a three-pointer that made it 21-9 and brought the crowd to its feet. But if Siena couldn't score before, here came Alphonso Ford off the bench with a three to answer and foul shot as the visitors limited the damage to 23-13 at the end of 10 minutes.
Unicaja started running away in the second quarter with another three-pointer from Zig and followed by a first from deep by Adam Wojcik. Carlos Cabezas soon threw a no-look pass to Louis Bullock for a layup and foul shot that served to double Siena on the scoreboard, 36-18. Ford, Vrbica Stefanov and Dusan Vukcevic would all drain threes for Siena in the quarter, but with Bullock getting two more baskets right away, Unicaja was able to retain a huge lead of 17 points, 46-29, going to the break. Ford was up to 11 points for the visitors to lead all scorers at that point but Bullock with 9, Zig with 6 and Wojcik with 5 gave the Unicaja bench the edge.
If Siena was going to make up 17 points after scoring only 29 in the first half, it would have to start soon after the break. But after quickly cutting the lead to 46-33, the visitors let Unicaja start rolling again. Cabezas scored 4 straight points to make it 54-36, and a five-point run by Siena was met with a 7-2 response by Unicaja, including a Gurovic three-pointer and 5 more by Bullock to make it 62-44. When Wojcik then rose up for another three-pointer, the lead was a clean 20 points, 65-45. The fourth quarter was just a formality as the 8,500-strong crowd in Malaga took the opportunity to enjoy the show after having suffered through two close home losses last month.
Wednesday, November 6, 2002