Unicaja Malaga blasts Cedevita
Unicaja Malaga led from start to finish en route to a big 90-67 win over visiting Cedevita Zagreb on Thursday night. Unicaja improved to 2-1 for a share of second place in Group E, while Cedevita dropped to 1-2. Unicaja pulled down 11 offensive rebounds and hit 7 three-pointers in the first half, which allowed it to build a comfortable 52-31 halftime lead. Cedevita never came closer than 15 points rest of the way. Unicaja finished with 19 offensive rebounds and outrebounded the visitors 43-23. Mindaugas Kuzminskas led the hosts with 17 points, Daniel Diez shot 4-for-5 from long range to score 16 points, and Carlos Suarez netted 11 in victory. Luka Babic led Cedevita with 24 points, while Jacob Pullen netted 16 in the losing effort.
First quarter: Hosts take control from the start
Will Thomas opened the encounter with a basket-plus-foul, and Richard Hendrix scored inside to make it 5-0. Miro Bilan opened Cedevita's account with a put-back, and Babic drove for a layup, but a three-pointer and a put-back by Kuzminskas made it 10-4. Babic drove the lane again, but Jamar Smith nailed a long jumper and DeMarcus Nelson made a tough runner midway through the quarter for a 14-6 lead. After a timeout, Fran Vazquez scored from close range to open a double-digit lead. Babic drove for another layup, but Nelson drove through the traffic for another off-balance runner. A tip-in and a layup from Vazquez opened a 14-point margin as Unicaja took control with 7 offensive rebounds in the first 10 minutes. James White and Suarez traded corner threes before Kuzminskas drove coast-to-coast for a three-point play and 27-11 cushion. Pullen hit a triple for the visitors to end the quarter at 27-14.
Second quarter: Diez scores 13 points as Unicaja runs away
Karlo Zganec scored from close range, but great passing from the entire Unicaja team resulted with Vazquez making a basket inside and Suarez from the outside to open a 16-point lead. Babic and Diez traded three-pointers and another three from Suarez made it 39-19 midway through the quarter. Bilan made a steal and dished a no-look bounce pass for a Fran Pilepic fastbreak layup. Arapovic and Bilan scored inside for Cedevita, but Diez had consecutive put-backs for the hosts, who were dominating the offensive glass with 11 offensive rebounds compared with Cedevita’s 9 total boards at that point. After a timeout, Diez hit a triple to put Unicaja up 46-25. Arapovic had consecutive put-backs for the visitors, but Smith and Diez answered each time with a three-pointer to open a 52-39 lead, before Pullen finished the half with a tough driving layup, making it 52-31 at halftime.
Third quarter: Pullen sparks Cedevita offense, Unicaja stays in control
Cedevita had energy for the start of the second half. After an Arapovic dunk, Babic added a driving layup and a floater to close within 52-37. Nearly four minutes passed until Unicaja scored, which came on Kuzminskas’s put-back-plus-foul. He followed it with jumper to re-establish a 20-point margin. Pullen hit a triple, but a pair of steals led to baskets from Alberto Diaz and a dunk by Kuzminskas. Smith added a triple, but Pullen answered with back-to-back threes for the visitors. Hendrix got a roll on a short jumper then Diez and Suarez hit triple to get the margin over 20 again. Suarez added a long jumper, and Pullen finished the quarter making a pair of foul shots to put 71-50 on the scoreboard.
Fourth quarter: The hosts cruise to a big win
Luka Zoric hit a short fadaway jumper and Kuzminskas scored inside on the other end. Edwin Jackson drove for a floater and Diez nailed a long triple that increased the margin to 80-52. Babic hit a corner triple and Henry Walker made a put-back dunk, before Nemanja Nedovic drove for an easy layup and an 82-57 advantage. Jack Cooley scored inside for Unicaja, and Babic knocked down a corner three for the visitors. Before the game’s end, Cooley and White traded close range baskets and Smith and Babic traded threes to round out the scoring.
Thursday, January 14, 2016