Joventut rallies to win in Malaga
Joventut Badalona fought back from a double-digit second-half deficit to snatch an 86-95 victory at Unicaja Malaga to open Group E with a big road win. In a battle of past 7DAYS EuroCup champs from Spain, Vladimir Brodziansky scored 21 points to pace five scorers in double figures for Joventut, which trailed by 12 points with 15 minutes left in the game. Ante Tomic tallied 18 points and 7 rebounds, Shawn Dawson and Nenad Dimitrijevic both scored 13 points, Xabi Lopez-Arostegui had 10 points and Ferran Bassas nailed 2 three-pointers in the final 101 seconds to help decide the game. Unicaja wasted a 23-point showing by Deon Thompson with Adam Waczysnki pouring in 18 points in the loss.
Tomic scored the game’s first basket with Ruben Guerrero doing the honors at the other end. Both teams went to their low-post players with Thompson and Guerrero hitting for Unicaja and Tomic scoring two more baskets as it remained close. Unicaja finally took the lead through Waczynski, 14-12, and the marksman drained 2 three-pointers late in the first quarter to make it 24-18 after 10 minutes. Volodymyr Gerun’s free throws for Unicaja started the second quarter and the cushion swelled to 26-18. Brodziansky responded with 8 points and Tomic’s next basket pulled the guests within 29-28. Francis Alonso and Tim Abromaitis both hit from deep to keep Unicaja ahead. Dimitrijevic scored twice to trim the deficit to 1 point again, but Dario Brizuela also hit a three-pointer and Thompson scored 4 points and the advantage was 49-41. The score was 49-43 at the break.
Unicaja opened the second half with 4 straight points to extend the margin to double digits, 53-43. Lopez-Arostegui responded with 2 three-pointers, but Jaime Fernandez and Waczynski hit from deep at the other end in a 10-2 spurt as the cushion increased to 63-51. Joventut was not fazed with Brodziansky and Dawson draining triples to start a 0-10 run to make it 63-61. Abromaitis’s triple stopped the run, but Brodziansky answered from deep and the score was 68-66 after 30 minutes. Dawson knotted the game to open up the final quarter with Frankie Ferrari draining a triple for the hosts. Two free throws each by Brodziansky and Dawson finally got Joventut ahead 71-72, and a long triple by Dimitrijevic made it 71-75. Lopez-Arostegui added a put-back and Dimitrjevic hit 2 foul shots as the Joventut lead grew to 72-79 with 6 minutes left. Unicaja twice got the deficit to 2, but Brodziansky hit a three-pointer to make it 81-86. Bassas then scored his first points of the game on a triple with 101 seconds left and then decided it with a second three-pointer with 14 seconds remaining for an 86-93 lead.
Expected offensive show
This was a showdown of two of the top five offenses in the EuroCup and the Spanish sides lived up to the offensive billing. Unicaja was the second-best scoring team in the regular season, averaging 87.5 ppg while Joventut ranked fifth at 86.0 ppg.
Road team finally wins
These teams have faced each other many times in the Spanish League but it was just the third matchup in the EuroCup. And it was the first time the road team won as the teams split the two games last season in the Top 16 with both home sides claiming victory.
Joventut took the victory thanks to shooting 57.1% on two-pointers and 47.8% from deep and holding Unicaja to 50.0% and 40.7% in those same stats, respectively.
Unicaja’s next game will be on the road as it travels to face AS Monaco on Tuesday, January 19. Joventut will host French side Nanterre 92 the next eveing.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021