Unicaja earns its first road win at Zielona Gora
Unicaja Malaga controlled the second half to earn a 67-84 road win at Stelmet Zielona Gora on Thursday evening. Zoran Dragic produced 21 points and 7 rebounds and Nik Caner-Medley tallied 18 points, 4 steals and 3 blocks for Unicaja, which improved to 3-4 in Group C after taking its first road win of the season. The result dropped Zielona Gora to 2-5 and put the Polish champs especially behind the eight ball with two of those losses coming against Unicaja. Unicaja lead by as many as 14 before the hosts rallied late in the first half and went ahead 40-39 on a Przemyslaw Zamojski three to start the third quarter. However that lead was short lasted as Unicaja scored the next 9 points and never looked back. The lead hit 18 early in the fourth as Unicaja rolled to victory. Zamojski finished with 21 points for the home team, Round 6 bwin MVP Vladimir Dragicevic added 13, Christian Eyenga scored 12 and Lukasz Koszarek dished 9 assists in defeat.
First quarter: Dragic, Caner-Medley highlight 0-11 Unicaja run
Turnovers marred the opening minute before Dragicevic opened the scoring with a jumper. Caner-Medley drove baseline to get the visitors on the scoreboard. Eyenga netted free throws to put the hosts up 6-2. Rafa Hettsheimeir’s slam in transition tied the game, but Zielona Gora regained the lead quickly on a Zamojski triple. Caner-Medley sank a long jumper to give Unicaja its first lead, 9-10. Hettsheimeir in the post made it a 3-point lead midway through the quarter. A Dragic triple made it 11 unanswered points as the hosts were hold without points for nearly four minutes. A three by Zamojski revived the fans and Eyenga made it 15-17. Caner-Medley’s next basket and a runner by Dragic kept the visitors in front. Dragic reached double figures in points before the quarter ended. Zamojski and Jayson Granger finished the quarter with Unicaja up 18-26.
Second quarter: Koszarek fuels Zielona Gora’s 10-0 comeback
Ryan Toolson boosted the Unicaja lead to double figures before Erving Walker scored for Zielona Gora on the break. Toolson connected from downtown and Caner-Medley scored inside as the visitors’ lead ballooned to 20-33. Adam Hrycaniuk countered with a bucket in the paint, but Caner-Medley added a free throw and Mindaugas Kuzminskas made it 22-36 midway through the quarter. Aaron Cel got a bucket back for Zielona Gora and a technical foul for flopping on Granger resulted in a Lukasz Koszarek free throw and score after a pretty move by Cel. Koszarek followed with a layup and then a three to cap a 10-0 run that narrowed the gap to 4. Hettsheimeir split free throws for Unicaja’s first points in four minutes. However the Unicaja center soon committed his third foul – this one on the offensive end – and Zamojski sank a mid-range jumper. Caner-Medley answered, but Dragicevic got the fans on their feet with an basket – which rolled around the rim before falling in – and the free throw that came with it to trim the gap to 37-39 at the break.
Third quarter: After falling behind, Unicaja soars ahead
Zamojski buried a three to open the second, giving the hosts their first lead since the first quarter. However Unicaja responded with authority. Dragic converted a three-point play, Vladimir Stimac dunked, Caner-Medley added a basket-plus-foul and Stimac netted another bucket on the offensive glass to cap a 0-9 surge. Eyenga countered with a slam-plus-foul, but a Granger triple kept the momentum with the visitors. After Dragic scored from downtown, it was 42-54. Eyenga kept the hosts alive and Wlaker matched an Earl Calloway triple with one of his own, but Unicaja remained in control, 49-59, through three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Stimac’s impact felt as Malaga pulls away
Carlos Suarez nailed a three and Granger ran the pick-and-roll perfectly with Stimac, who scored easily at the rim. A Toolson triple made it 49-67 and essentially wrapped up the victory. Zielona Gora’s hope after a Zamojski three was wiped away by a Caner-Medley triple. Cel and Dragicevic continued to naw away at the deficit. Eyenga’s second-chance layup made it 58-72. Hettsheimeir scored twice and – after a Koszarek three – set up Caner-Medley too as Unicaja protected its comfortable lead. Dragicevic followed in a miss on the break to bring the hosts within 11, but a steal and slam for Dragic took the life out of Zielona Gora and Unicaja chalked up a valuable victory.
Thursday, November 28, 2013