2018-19Top 16Round 5
January 30, 2019 CET: 20:45
Local time: 20:45 PALACIO DE DEPORTES JOSE MARIA MARTIN CARPENA

Valencia downs Unicaja, clinches first place

In a battle that went down to the final seconds, Valencia Basket clinched first place in Top 16 Group G by downing Unicaja Malaga 69-72 on the road on Wednesday. Valencia remained undefeated in the group to finish ahead of Unicaja, which dropped to 3-2 and will be second. Matt Thomas led the winners with 18 points, Bojan Dubljevic added 15 and 8 rebounds, Aaron Doornekamp had 11 points while Mike Tobey pulled down 11 boards for Valencia. Jaime Fernandez paced Unicaja with 20 points, Adam Waczynski added 13 and Giorgi Shermadini had 10 for the home side, which led 45-35 at halftime. Unicaja still had a 69-66 edge late in the game, but Dubljevic and Guillem Vives fueled a final 0-6 run to win this important game.

Mathias Lessort got Unicaja going with a layup, igniting a 6-0 opening run that Waczynski capped with a jumper. Brian Roberts struck from downtown and Shermadini dunked twice to cause Valencia to call timeout at 13-1. Joan Sastre, Sam Van Rossom and Will Thomas rescued the visitors with respective three-pointers, but Fernandez and Waczynski kept Unicaja ahead, 19-10. Doornekamp scored down low and Matt Thomas hit a jumper to bring Valencia a bit closer, 19-14, after 10 minutes. Matt Thomas kept pacing the visitors with a four-point play early in the second quarter and Doornekamp capped a 0-11 run with a bomb from beyond the arc that gave Valencia its first lead, 19-21. Ryan Boatright stepped up with a triple-and-foul and Fernandez added a driving layup to restore a 25-21 Unicaja lead. Tobey and Lessort traded layups and Doornekamp banked in a floater to keep Valencia within 27-25. Matt Thomas buried consecutive jumpers, but Fernandez and Roberts helped Unicaja regain a 35-29 lead. Lessort hit free throws and a three-pointer by Fernandez made it a double-digit game again, 40-29. Dubljevic scored twice in the paint and Matt Thomas hit a jumper to get Valencia a bit closer, 45-35, at halftime. Fernando San Emeterio struck from downtown soon after the break and Will Thomas added a layup, but Shermadini and Waczynski answered for a 50-40 Unicaja margin. After Tobey followed a layup with a slam, Waczynski quickly downed a triple to make it 53-44 score. San Emeterio scored again only to see Viny Okouo do better with a layup-plus-foul. Matt Thomas and Waczynski exchanged three-pointers, but an unstoppable Dubljevic brought Valencia within 60-54 after 30 minutes. A layup by Dubljevic made it a 4-point game early in the fourth quarter. Doornekamp split free throws and Matt Thomas tied the game with a three-pointer, 60-60, with 7 minutes left. Dani Diez took over with a backdoor layup and Fernandez improved that with a triple, which caused Valencia to call timeout at 65-60. Doornekamp and Guillem Vives answered from beyond the arc to put the visitors in charge, 65-66. Shermadini made free throws and Dragan Milosavljevic found his first points, but Dubljevic restored a 69-70 Valencia edge in the next-to-last minute. Unicaja got the ball back with 26.8 seconds left, but Waczynski missed from downtown and Vives sealed the outcome from the foul line.

Pivotal performer

Dubljevic made the difference in crunch time. He finished the game with 15 points, 8 rebounds, an assist and 6 fouls drawn for a performance index rating of 21. He scored 11 points in the final 12 minutes, leading Valencia to a truly pivotal win.

Game-changing moment

Unicaja led 69-66 with three minutes left, but was held scoreless until the final buzzer. Meanwhile, Valencia looked for Dubljevic, who drew a couple of fouls, split free throws twice and added a jump hook for a 69-70 margin. Vives had a key block on Fernandez and hit free throws with 2.3 seconds left to seal Valencia's win.

Stellar stat

Valencia outrebounded the hosts 34-30 and only allowed Unicaja to pull down 3 offensive rebounds - a new all-time low for the hosts in EuroCup action. Valencia also took great care of the ball, dishing 18 assists and committing just 10 turnovers.

Did you notice?

The first playoff series in this year's EuroCup has determined: ALBA Berlin vs. Unicaja Malaga. ALBA was first in Group E and will have the home-court advantage against Unicaja.

Next game

Both teams return to 7DAYS EuroCup action next week. Unicaja visits Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on Tuesday. A day later, Valencia Basket hosts Limoges CSP. LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne (5-0, +52), Morabanc Andorra (5-0, +39) and Valencia (5-0, +36) will fight for the top-seeded spot in the playoffs in Top 16 round 6.

Matt Thomas - Valencia Basket (photo Unicaja - Mariano Pozo) - EC18
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Euroleague.net
Referees: LOTTERMOSER, ROBERT; BAUMANIS, INGUS; UDYANSKYY, EDUARD
Attendance: 8088
By Quarter1234
Unicaja Malaga1926159
Valencia Basket14211918
End of Quarter1234
Unicaja Malaga19456069
Valencia Basket14355472
Unicaja Malaga
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 BOATRIGHT, RYAN 14:52 4 0/2 1/2 1/1           1 1     4 5
2 OKOUO, VINY 5:01 3 1/2   1/1                 2 1 1
3 FERNANDEZ, JAIME 30:06 20 5/8 3/6 1/2 1 2 3 6 1 3 1 1 1 2 21
7 STILMA, MORGAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
10 SALIN, SASU 10:18     0/3     3 3           1 2 1
11 DIEZ, DANIEL 10:54 2 1/1       1 1 2         1   4
12 MILOSAVLJEVIC, DRAGAN 15:23 2 1/3           1 1       2    
17 SHERMADINI, GIORGI 24:15 10 3/5   4/4   6 6   3 2     3 5 17
21 WACZYNSKI, ADAM 24:37 13 2/2 3/8     2 2 2         4 1 9
22 ROBERTS, BRIAN 25:08 9 0/3 3/5     3 3 2   1   1 2 1 6
26 LESSORT, MATHIAS 31:49 6 2/4   2/2 2 7 9   1 4 1   1 3 13
33 WILTJER, KYLE 7:37   0/3       1 1         1 1 1 -3
Team             2 2               2
Totals 200:00 69 15/33 10/24 9/10 3 27 30 13 6 11 3 3 18 20 76
        45.5% 41.7% 90%
Head coach: CASIMIRO, LUIS
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
Valencia Basket
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 GARCIA, SERGI DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6 ABALDE, ALBERTO 7:56     0/1         1   2     1   -3
9 VAN ROSSOM, SAM 24:47 3 0/2 1/3     3 3 5   1     2 1 5
10 THOMAS, WILL 23:36 6 1/6 1/1 1/2 2 2 4 2 1       2 3 8
13 TOBEY, MIKE 17:02 6 3/6   0/2 2 9 11 2 1 2 1   4 1 11
14 DUBLJEVIC, BOJAN 22:32 15 5/8 1/2 2/4 3 5 8 1       1 2 6 21
16 VIVES, GUILLEM 22:08 5 0/1 1/3 2/2   2 2 3 1 1 2   2 1 8
17 MARTINEZ, RAFA 1:59   0/1                   1     -2
19 SAN EMETERIO, FERNANDO 14:38 5 1/2 1/3         2         1 1 4
21 THOMAS, MATT 24:19 18 4/5 3/5 1/1   4 4 1 1 4   1 2 2 16
30 SASTRE, JOAN 15:27 3 0/1 1/3         1         1    
42 DOORNEKAMP, AARON 25:36 11 2/2 2/4 1/2   1 1   3       3 3 12
Team             1 1               1
Totals 200:00 72 16/34 11/25 7/13 7 27 34 18 7 10 3 3 20 18 81
        47.1% 44% 53.8%
Head coach: PONSARNAU, JAUME

Head Coaches

CASIMIRO, LUIS
Unicaja Malaga
"We played a very brilliant first half, playing really well, really fast, with very good transitions. We found more difficulties in the second half. They didn't allow us to finish close to the rim; Valencia collapsed the paint and we didn't find good shots there, in the low post or in penetration. That is when it was hard for us to score. Even with all that, we had a potential game-winning shot with just a few seconds left. It was a good shot, but it didn't go in. We have to be satisfied with the work our team did. We played good defense throughout the whole game and played well on offense in the first half, but not so well after that. We kept playing good defense in the second half because they have been scoring a lot and we allowed only 72 points tonight."
PONSARNAU, JAUME
Valencia Basket
"We had a very bad start - and Unicaja had a very good start. They used this option that they used before - playing with both of its centers together on court at the start of the game and it was bad for us. We didn't find any advantages with Will Thomas, they put him into early foul trouble with 2 quick fouls. The rhythm, intensity and strength belonged to them and Martin Carpena Arena helped. They had all the positive vibes and soon found an inspired Jaime [Fernandez], who was a big headache for us. We started to look for players to stop him and finally found them in our point guards in the second half, especially Guillem [Vives]. We did well on defense against Jaime and Boatright and that gave us the confidence to compete for the win through the only way we could compete tonight: through our defense. Without any doubt, our biggest success was allowing just 24 points in the second half, which allowed us to get options to win on a day in which it was hard for us on offense, not with a lot of confidence. I believe we played smart; we looked for options in the paint, where our frontcourt players felt confident and ready to compete and that decided the game. What gave us options were Guillem Vives's defense, Mike Tobey's good moments, Matt Thomas's big baskets - all that allowed us to win."

Players

THOMAS, MATT
Valencia Basket
"We are happy, but we are not content. It is just one step and tonight, it was obviously a really good win tonight against a great team, especially in this venue, in this atmosphere at home. It says a lot about our team; we showed great toughness, starting the game 13-1 and overcoming that deficit, sticking together when things did not go well and finding a way."
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