2018-19Top 16Round 2
January 08, 2019 CET: 20:45
Local time: 20:45 PALACIO DE DEPORTES JOSE MARIA MARTIN CARPENA

Unicaja survives Zvezda comeback for first Top 16 win

Unicaja Malaga picked up its first win of the Top 16 by holding on against Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 79-74. Unicaja needed to hit its free throws down the stretch after nearly giving up an 18-point third-quarter lead. Mathias Lessort led the way with 16 points, Giorgi Shermadini posted 13 points and 9 rebounds, Brian Roberts scored 11 points and both Jaime Fernandez and Sasu Salin added 10 points as Unicaja improved to 1-1 in Group G. Zvezda dropped to 1-1 despite Stratos Perperoglou scoring 23 points. Ognjen Dobric netted 13 points in the loss.

Unicaja scored the first 5 points of the game and Zvezda needed more than 3 minutes to finally score with Joe Ragland hitting a three-pointer. Shermadini took over with 9 points in a 16-5 Unicaja run, which was finished by a second Sasu Salin three-pointer for a 24-11 lead. It was 26-13 after 10 minutes. Dragan Milosavljevic scored 5 points in pushing the Valencia lead to 35-17. Perperoglou got hot off the bench with 3 three-pointers in the span of 71 seconds to get the gap to 11 points. Perperoglou added a three-point play and foul shots to get Zvezda within 47-37. The scoreboard showed 51-37 at the break. Salin and Roberts opened the third quarter with threes as the gap grew to 57-39. It was 61-45 after a Shermadini score, but Dobric nailed a three-pointer and converted a three-point play to trim the gap to 65-55 after 30 minutes. Lessort opened the fourth quarter to make it 67-55, but the Unicaja offense fell apart with just 4 made free throws in 6 minutes and Perperoglou and Filip Covic both hit three-pointers to trim the deficit to 71-65 with under 4 minutes left. Covic added 2 free throws and Dobric's three-pointer made it 73-72 with 64 seconds left. Fernandez answered with 2 free throws and then rebounded Salin's missed three and added 2 more foul shots for a 77-74 lead with 12 seconds remaining. Roberts iced the game with his foul shots with 5.5 seconds left.

Game-changing sequence

With Zvezda charging back into the game, Jaime Fernandez kept his cool and hit 2 free throws and followed that by grabbing an offensive rebounds and making 2 more from the line in the final 51 seconds.

Pivotal performer

Mathias Lessort scored 16 points on just 6 field goal attempts, adding 6 of 9 free throws while also grabbing 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 1 block with 1 turnover in 28:07 minutes for a performance index rating of 25.

Telling numbers

Unicaja converted 20 of 24 free throws (83.3%) and committed just 13 turnovers, compared to 10 of 13 (76.9%) and 16 turnovers for Zvezda.

Next games

Unicaja will stay at home for its next Top 16 game, hosting Limoges CSP on Tuesday. Zvezda will remain on the road in Spain and take on Valencia Basket on Wednesday.

Mathias Lessort - Unicaja Malaga (photo Unicaja) - EC18
Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Eurocupbasketball.com
Referees: CHRISTODOULOU, CHRISTOS; FRITZ, CLEMENS ; VILIUS, GYTIS
Attendance: 5032
By Quarter1234
Unicaja Malaga26251414
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade13241819
End of Quarter1234
Unicaja Malaga26516579
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade13375574
Unicaja Malaga
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
2 OKOUO, VINY DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3 FERNANDEZ, JAIME 17:14 10 1/3 0/2 8/8 1 2 3 4 2 1   1 4 4 13
7 STILMA, MORGAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
10 SALIN, SASU 28:30 10   3/7 1/2 1 2 3 1 2 1     1 2 11
11 DIEZ, DANIEL 19:18 2 1/1 0/2     1 1 1         1   1
12 MILOSAVLJEVIC, DRAGAN 21:47 7 1/3 1/2 2/2   1 1     1       4 8
16 SANCHEZ, PABLO DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
17 SHERMADINI, GIORGI 23:38 13 6/8   1/1 4 5 9 3   5 1   2 2 19
21 WACZYNSKI, ADAM 18:18   0/3 0/3     2 2 2   1     3   -6
22 ROBERTS, BRIAN 26:38 11 3/5 1/3 2/2   3 3 4 2 3     3 2 12
26 LESSORT, MATHIAS 28:07 16 5/6   6/9 1 3 4 1 2 1 1   2 8 25
33 WILTJER, KYLE 16:30 10 5/5 0/2     3 3             2 13
Team           1 2 3     1         2
Totals 200:00 79 22/34 5/21 20/24 8 24 32 16 8 14 2 1 16 24 98
        64.7% 23.8% 83.3%
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
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 RAGLAND, JOE 30:02 7 2/8 1/5   1 6 7 7 2 5   1 1   6
3 COVIC, FILIP 13:59 9 1/3 1/4 4/4   1 1 1 1 1   1 2 4 7
4 KESELJ, MARKO 13:26     0/1               1   1   -1
5 PERPEROGLOU, STRATOS 32:25 23 3/6 4/5 5/5 1 2 3 1 1 2     5 3 20
7 DAVIDOVAC, DEJAN 3:42   0/1     1   1                
10 LAZIC, BRANKO 10:32           2 2     1     1    
12 BARON, BILLY 19:38 7 2/3 1/3             5     3 1 -3
13 DOBRIC, OGNJEN 21:25 13 3/7 2/4 1/1 2 2 4   2 1     3 2 11
14 RISTIC, DUSAN 12:08 4 2/5     5 3 8     1       1 9
22 SIMANIC, BORISA 16:15 7 2/5 1/3   1   1 1         2   2
33 ZIRBES, MAIK 6:14       0/2 1   1           1 2  
50 OJO, MICHAEL 20:14 4 2/5   0/1 2 3 5   1       5 3 4
Team           5   5               5
Totals 200:00 74 17/43 10/25 10/13 19 19 38 10 7 16 1 2 24 16 60
        39.5% 40% 76.9%
Head coach: TOMIC, MILAN

Head Coaches

CASIMIRO, LUIS
Unicaja Malaga
"I think it was a game that we started with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Our players were playing well with a positive mentality that we had from the start. That allowed us to play good defense. We played well with good rebounds and good rhythm. And we had a lot of balls on the inside to our big men. So our inside game was working. However, in the second half we had some problems with our rebounds and we missed some open shots, which if we had made it would have given us a bigger margin."
TOMIC, MILAN
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade
"It was a good game for the people to watch, an interesting game with a lot of differences during the game. Unicaja was in front and we fought in the second half to come back and we did it. I want to congratulate my players for this. Not only for the second half. In the first quarter we decided to play against the Chicago Bulls, not now the Chicago Bulls, more like the [Golden State] Warriors. This was the picture of our team at the beginning of the game. And I cannot understand why it was like that. But in the second, third and fourth quarters I think we controlled the game. And it was only one rebound, one shot, one small detail to decide the game. I think we played good in the second half. We played like we are supposed to play. And we have to continue. It is just one loss. We have to prepare ourselves for the next game."

Players

LESSORT, MATHIAS
Unicaja Malaga
"I am really happy because we had to bounce back after the last couple of games. It was kind of disappointing for us, the fans and everybody here. We are really happy to come back, even though we kind of laid down at the end. The most important thing was to get back on the winning path today."
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