Dynamo took a share of first place in Top 16 Group G by downing previously undefeated Unicaja 86-80 at home in Moscow on Wednesday in the first game ever played between the two clubs. Both now share the top spot in Group G with a 2-1 records, but Benetton Treviso could join them with a road win at Aris TT Bank in Thessaloniki, Greece on Thursday. Bojan Popovic paced the winners with 21 points, including 10 of his team's last 16 points in the game's final 5 minutes. Taquan Dean added 16, Lazaros Papadopoulos 15 and 9 rebounds while Antonis Fotsis scored 13 points for Dynamo. Berni Rodriguez led all scorers with 22 points for Unicaja. Marko Tusek added 12 and Pepe Sanchez 10 for the visitors. Dean and Fotsis fueled a 10-0 run that broke the game early in the second quarter and paced Dynamo to a 20-point lead, 42-22 advantage late in the first half. Jiri Welsch, Tusek and Rodriguez fueled a 2-21 run for Unicaja after the break while Carlos Cabezas gave Unicaja a 65-66 edge after three quarters. Unicaja's 36-point third quarter was the second-most ever in 10 minutes of a Top 16 game, tying two other teams. Dynamo improved its defense down the stretch, however, and an outstanding Popovic led Dynamo to a key home win.
Dynamo went straight to Papadopoulos from the start of the game, but free throws by Santiago and a put-back basket by Carlos Jimenez gave Unicaja a quick 2-3 edge. The guests tried double-teaming situations on Papadopoulos, who committed consecutive turnovers in the early going, but not for long. Meanwhile, Berni Rodriguez followed a five-meter jumper with a corner triple to cap a 0-8 Unicaja run that made it 2-8. Papadopoulos then turned things around. He stepped up with a three-point play and Antonis Fotsis added free throws to get Dynamo within 7-8. Jiri Welsch nailed a mid-range shot that Bojan Popovic matched with a layup. Papadopoulos shined with a second-chance basket and soon added a baseline jumper to give Dynamo a 13-10 edge. Sergey Monya dunked off a steal to make Unicaja call timeout at 15-10. Dynamo's run was up to 13-2. Rodriguez stepped up with a driving layup that Papadopoulos matched another put-back layup before free throws by Kostas Vasileadis of Unicaja fixed the score at 18-14 after 10 minutes. Of the 17 shots Dynamo took in the first quarter, Papadopoulos had 12.
Dean hit a three-pointer in transition to keep Dynamo ahead, 21-14, early in the second quarter. Ignacio De Miguel and Yuri Vasiliev traded free throws, but Unicaja continued finding it difficult to score. Fotsis took over with a reverse layup while Dean and Sergey Bykov added a consecutive layup-plus-free throws to cap a 10-0 Dynamo run that put the hosts in charge of the game. Santiago scored in the middle but Dean matched it with a long two-pointer, good for a 34-19 Dynamo margin. Pepe Sanchez found his first points from the free throw line, as Unicaja tried a zone defense that Popovic punished with a triple. Then Fotsis added an acrobatic three-point play and hit a jumper to make it an 20-point game, 42-22. Santiago went back to the bench with 4 fouls, as Sanchez and Marcus Faison tried to change things with free throws. Dimitriy Khvostov shined with a put-back layup and even when Faison answered from downtown, Popovic made free throws for a 16-point Dynamo margin, 46-30, at halftime.
After the break, Papadopoulos kept pacing Dynamo with a hook shot that Rodriguez answered from downtown to get Unicaja within 48-33. Popovic and Dmitry Domani stepped up with driving baskets to keep Dynamo ahead, 52-33. Unicaja was not done, however, as Welsch registered a three-point play while Rodriguez and De Miguel added layups. By the time Tusek had a put-back basket, the guests were within 52-42. Dean buried a long two-pointer but Rodriguez and Tusek scored again to make Dynamo call timeout at 54-47. Unicaja was on fire now, as Welsch shined with a fastbreak layup, Rodriguez buried a triple and Cabezas hit a jumper that tied the game, 54-54, after a mammoth 2-21 run. Dean rescued Dynamo with an off-balanced three-point play but Rodriguez got all those points back in one shot from the arc. Eddie Gill hit a driving layup that Welsch matched with free throws. Papadopoulos and Gill combined for 4 quick points, but Tusek followed free throws with a triple to complete the Unicaja comeback, 63-64. Popovic and Cabezas traded free throws before the third quarter ended with Unicaja in charge now, 65-66 after 30 minutes.
Dynamo kept struggling to score early in the fourth quarter, while Cabezas nailed a running jumper for a 65-68 Unicaja edge. Gill made free throws but Marcus Faison replied for Unicaja with a fallaway jumper. Dean hit another triple while Popovic added a driving layup to give Dynamo a 72-70 edge with less than 7 minutes remaining. Unicaja saw its scoring drought stretch to 4 minutes, while after a Dynamo timeout, Popovic and Fotsis returned with killer back-to-back three-pointers for a 78-70 edge. Unicaja called its own timeout with less than 4 minutes left, after which Sanchez buried a corner triple to get the guests within 78-73. Rodriguez added a six-meter shot to make it a three-point game, 78-75. Gill made 1 of 2 foul shots before Tusek got Unicaja even closer, 79-77, with an offensive rebound. Popovic took control then with a layup-plus-free throw, as Dynamo used three non-shooting fouls to keep the clock running down the stretch. Gill sealed the win with free throws, allowing Dynamo to take a share of first place in Group G.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007