2007-08Regular SeasonRound 7
December 05, 2007 CET: 19:15
Local time: 20:15 ABDI IPEKCI ARENA
Ermal Kuqo - Efes Pilsen Efes Pilsen shook things up in Group B with a convincing 91-75 victory over Unicaja at the Abdi Ipekci Arena in Istanbul, Turkey, on Wednesday night. Efes moved within one victory of a three-way tie for first place in the group at the halfway point of the season. Ender Arslan scored 7 during a 14-0 second period run that gave the hosts a 20-point lead, from which Unicaja never recovered. The lead sat at 51-36 at halftime and after Efes increased it to 23 early in the third, the visitors didn't closer than 15 the rest of the way. Efes improves to 4-3, trailing Unicaja, Lietuvos Rytas and the winner of Thursday's game between Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv and Aris TT Bank for first. Unicaja dropped to 5-2 and joins the previously mentioned clubs in a three-way tie for first. Drew Nicholas led the winners with 16 points and 7 assists, Scoonie Penn added a season-high 15, Ermal Kuqo had 13, Arslan 11 and both Loren Woods and Kerem Gonlum scored 10 each. Daniel Santiago finished with a Euroleague career-high 25 points and 8 rebounds for Unicaja, Jiri Welsch added 13 and Davor Kus 11.

Daniel Santiago - Unicaja Both sides played to their big men in the paint as the game got underway. Unicaja had more early success than Efes mostly due to center Santiago, who had an excellent first 10 minutes with dunks and skillful layups to score 15 of his team's first 21 points to dominate the first quarter. Efes kept the lead in the hand until an Unicaja 0-6 spurt gave the visitors a narrow 16-17 lead on a Carlos Jimenez layup. Then Efes started shooting well behind the arc, answering with 5 Penn points to regain control. Santiago tied things at 21-21, but a Kenny Gregory three plus 4 points from Nicholas left Efes ahead 28-21 lead at the end of the first period.

In the second quarter, Efes’s match-up zone defense was good enough to stop the visitors. After Welsch’s three pointer brought Unicaja within 32-26, the home team soared to a 14-0 run during which Ender Arslan scored 7 points. Woods’s layup gave the hosts a 20-point advantage, before Unicaja found points from Kus’s basket-plus-free throw, ending five minutes of silence. Santiago, who scored 15 in the first period but stayed scoreless until the last minute of the second period, scored 4 points in the last minute to make the score 51-36 at halftime.

Drew Nicholas - Efes Pilsen Efes Pilsen made an impressive start to the third quarter and increased its lead to 23 points with another fast-break layup courtesy of Penn. Unicaja turned to a zone defense to try and stop Efes. It helped to slow the speed of the game as Welsch, Carlos Cabezas, Michal Chilinsky and Berni Rodriguez scored to get the visitors a bit closer. Chilinsky's first career three-pointer reduced the deficit to 16. Free throws from each side by Nicholas and Boniface N’Dong ended the third quarter at 71-55.

Efes once again built a 23-point gap early in the fourth as Penn hit a three-pointer followed by Gonlum's dunk. An Arslan fast-break layup gave Efes it's biggest lead, 83-58. Unicaja responded with 7 quick points – 6 of them from Santiago. But Efes continued to pour it on and raced back to 91-67, effectively sealing the outcome. Bojan Popovic’s three pointer and Welsch’s 5 points helped the visitors cut the difference at the end, but it was too little, too late as Efes celebrated victory.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Gokhan Ture, Istanbul
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Referees: JUNGEBRAND, CARL (FIN), CHIARI, ROBERTO (ITA), RYZHYK, BORYS (UKR)
Attendance: 5500
By Quarter1234
Efes Pilsen28232020
Unicaja21151920
End of Quarter1234
Efes Pilsen28517191
Unicaja21365575
Efes Pilsen
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 NICHOLAS, DREW 36:20 16 5/9 1/4 3/4   1 1 7 1 2   1 2 5 17
5 PENN, SCOONIE 36:14 15 3/7 3/7     2 2 2 2 2     2 1 10
6 WOODS, LOREN 13:10 10 4/5   2/2 1 2 3   2     1 3 1 11
9 GREGORY, KENNY 14:41 3 0/1 1/2     1 1 2   1     1   2
10 ABI, MUSTAFA 1:54     0/1                   1   -2
11 PACUN, BORA HUN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
12 GONLUM, KEREM 21:47 10 5/5       4 4 3 1       2   16
13 WRIGHT, RASHAD 12:55 5 1/1 1/1 0/2 1 3 4 1 1       4 2 7
17 ERDOGAN, SERKAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
23 KUQO, ERMAL 19:09 13 5/6 1/2     5 5 2 1   1   4 2 18
33 ARSLAN, ENDER 17:56 11 3/4 1/3 2/2   2 2 1 2 1       2 14
34 HUTSON, ANDRE 25:54 8 4/7   0/2 2 3 5 4 1   1   3 1 12
Team                                
Totals 200:00 91 30/45 8/20 7/12 4 23 27 22 11 6 2 2 22 14 105
        66.7% 40% 58.3%
Head coach: BLATT, DAVID
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
Unicaja
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 POPOVIC, BOJAN 11:13 3 0/1 1/2     2 2   1 4   1 1 3 1
5 RODRIGUEZ, BERNI 22:35 2 1/3 0/3         3   1   1 1   -3
7 KUS, DAVOR 34:27 11 2/5 2/4 1/1 1 2 3 4   2     1 1 11
8 CHYLINSKI, MICHAL 12:50 9 1/2 2/3 1/1       1 1       1 2 10
9 WELSCH, JIRI 31:42 13 3/4 1/5 4/7 1 6 7   1 1     2 5 15
10 CABEZAS, CARLOS 28:47 5 0/2 1/2 2/2 3 3 6           2 1 7
12 NDONG, BONIFACE 13:48 5 2/4 0/1 1/3 2 2 4 2   4 1   1 2 4
16 PRESTES, PAULO DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
20 JIMENEZ, CARLOS 15:27 2 1/4       1 1 2 2 1     2   1
25 SANTIAGO, DANIEL 29:11 25 8/12   9/9 2 6 8     1 1   3 8 34
Team                                
Totals 200:00 75 18/37 7/20 18/23 9 22 31 12 5 14 2 2 14 22 80
        48.6% 35% 78.3%
Head coach: SCARIOLO, SERGIO

Head Coaches

BLATT, DAVID
Efes Pilsen
"We did a pretty good job against a team which had the best performance in our group until that game. Because of that reason, we kept our concentration high and relied on it all through the match. Ender Arslan and Scoonie Penn challenged very, very well at the point guard position. And Rashad Wright came in and gave us very, very important minutes in his first game in over two months, because he's been injured. I also thought that Drew Nicholas very quietly had one of his best games of the season all around. We had very good balance. We had six players in double figures and the seventh guy with eight points. We moved the basketball, we played together. It was an excellent team performance."
SCARIOLO, SERGIO
Unicaja
"I don't have too much to say, I just want to congratulate Efes for their performance. They played very well, they played a great game. We are not in the physical conditions to compete on the road with top teams. Not only because of the players who are not here, but especially the players who are here with their fifty percent shape was the reason of our loss. Our players on the court tonight were not in good shape. But I don't want to overshadow Efes Pilsen's win, because they deserved to win. And I think that in the first half, also in this very bad shape, we could have done something more on defense."

Players

KUQO, ERMAL
Efes Pilsen
"It was a very important game for us. We were playing on our home court and we don't want to lose a game here. We were planning to win all our home games and having extra victories on the road to climb up as high as we can in the group. We had some unexpected loses in the previous matches and we tried to compensate for those loses. This win is a pretty good start for us to reach our goal. We prepared well enough. We knew the power of Daniel Santiago and his scoring potential and tried to reduce the scoring forces of the opponent rather than him, to keep the other scorer at the minimum level. Now we are focused on the Cibona Zagreb game, but first we have to move towards the Turkish League by playing against Alpella at the weekend."
KUS, DAVOR
Unicaja
"The main reason why we lost this game by such a difference is that we weren't able to answer with the same level of their powerful defense. They played really good in defense. And when we receive 28 points just in the first quarter, it's not really easy to respond back. In the away games, it's really hard to get the rhythm when you play such bad defense. We tried till the end but unfortunately it was their night. And we were not on the level that we should be to win."
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