Zalgiris prevails after overtime in Malaga
Zalgiris Kaunas wasted a 20-point lead, but managed to beat Unicaja Malaga on the road 83-85 after overtime with Edgaras Ulanovas hitting the game-winner at the buzzer. Kevin Pangos nailed 5 three-pointers in scoring a game-high 21 points to go with 5 assists for Zalgiris, which improved to 4-3 with its third road win of the young season. Arturas Milaknis added 13 points, while Ulanovas and Aaron White both chipped in 10 points. Unicaja saw its two-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 3-4. Ray McCallum paced Unicaja with a career high 19 points - including the layup to force overtime. Jeff Brooks evened his career best with 16 points and set new personal marks with 11 rebounds and an index rating of 29. Unicaja was playing without leading scorer Nemanja Nedovic, who was out with a shoulder injury. Unicaja made just 4-of-18 three-pointers (22.2%) which helped Zalgiris overcome committing 22 turnovers.
McCallum started things with a jumper from the left wing with Paulius Jankunas answering with a spin move and layup. Unicaja pulled away for the first time with a Giorgi Shermandini score off the glass and a Daniel Diez three-ball to make it 9-4. Brooks had some great energy in the first quarter, putting back in his own miss and picking up two free throws for a 13-9 lead. Zalgiris put the clamps on the defense and started to take control of the proceedings. Pangos knocked down Zalgiris’s second three-pointer and then set up an alley-oop dunk for White to put the guests ahead 13-14. Axel Toupane added four points and White drained a three-ball as well to complete a 2-12 surge for a 15-21 advantage for Zalgiris. Free throws from James Augustine ended Unicaja’s five-minute drought and the score was 17-21 after 10 minutes. Dejan Musli fed Dragan Milosavljevic for a dunk early in the
second quarter. Musli added 4 free throws and Adam Waczynski converted a fastbreak layup in a 10-2 Unicaja surge for a 27-23 lead. But Zagiris put together a run of its own, starting with a three-pointer and layup from Pangos and finished by steals and transition finishes from White and Vasilije Micic to complete a 2-11 run for a 29-34 advantage. McCallum tried to keep Unicaja in the game with two baskets, but Pangos was on target again from long range and an Ulanovas tip-in helped Zalgiris to a 34-41 lead at the break.
Zalgiris continued its blistering shooting to start the second half with Pangos and Milaknis both knocking down threes and Milaknis converting a three-point play to make it 34-50. Milosavljevic finally scored for Unicaja after three minutes, but Pangos hit from long range again as did Paulius Valinskas as the cushion increased to 20 points - 36-56. Brooks tried to keep Unicaja alive with a basket and three-pointer. A couple of turnovers by Zalgiris allowed Unicaja to inch closer with more Brooks free throws and a basket from Augustine to trim the gap to 10 points. Dee Bost snapped the 0-10 run and Zalgiris was up 48-59 after three quarters. Salin opened the fourth quarter by getting the deficit to single digits. Antanas Kavaliauskas put back an offensive rebound, but he and Jankunas both fouled out around the seven-minute mark. Free throws from Milosavljevic trimmed the margin to 53-61. White snapped the Unicaja surge with a three-point play, but Waczynski answered with a three and McCallum’s layup cut it to 58-64. The margin was back up to 11 points at the 2:43-minute mark after two scores from Ulanovas. McCallum and Brooks would not let Unicaja go down without a fight: McCallum scored 5 straight points and Brooks came up with a big steal and assist and 2 free throws. But Unicaja needed a McCallum layup with 3.1 seconds left to knot the game
at 72-72 and force overtime.
Pangos scored first in the overtime and Ulanovas made it 74-78, but Carlos Suarez converted a three-point play for his second basket of the extra session. The Unicaja forward put in a miss just before the shot clock to knot the game at 81-81. A Brandon Davies score had Zalgiris up by 2 with a minute to play. McCallum again looked to play hero with a spin move on the drive and then a layup to tie the game at 83-83 with 1.9 seconds to play. But that left enough time on an in-bounds play for Micic to find Ulanovas, who rose up and knocked down a lefty jumper for the winner at the buzzer.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017