2018-19SemifinalsGame 1
March 19, 2019 CET: 18:30
Local time: 18:30 PABELLON FUENTE DE SAN LUIS

Valencia rallies to edge UNICS in opener

Valencia Basket rallied from an 8-point deficit to take Game 1 of the 7DAYS EuroCup Semifinals 69-64 from UNICS Kazan on Tuesday at Pabellon Fuente De San Luis. The fourth quarter alone featured five lead changes and two ties before Will Thomas stepped up late to lift Valencia to victory. UNICS hosts Game 2 of the best-of-three series on Friday. Fernando San Emeterio and Mike Tobey scored 14 points apiece and Matt Thomas added 13 for Valencia, which captured its 13th consecutive EuroCup victory this season. Tobey also blocked 3 shots. Errick McCollum paced UNICS with 16 points, Melvin Ejim scored 11 and Maurice Ndour produced 8 points and 9 rebounds in defeat.

UNICS looked comfortable early with Raymar Morgan scoring twice and contributing a pair of steals in a 2-8 start. It wasn't until the 4-minute mark that San Emeterio scored Valencia's second basket of the game. However, the hosts battled back to tie the score and Aaron Doornekamp split free throws to give Valencia its first lead, 11-10, which is how the first quarter finished. After Ejim's three-pointer 2 minutes onto the second quarter was the first triple of the game for either side, Anton Ponkrashov added another. McCollum and Ndour each scored twice in a 3-9 push that extended the margin to 18-25. Sam Van Rossom and Matt Thomas connected from outside to revive Valencia and its fans. McCollum's three-point play and Alberto Abalde free throws settled the score at 28-30 at the break. San Emeterio briefly gave Valencia the lead with a three-pointer to start the second half, but UNICS scored the next three baskets. Pierria Henry penetrated for a bank shot and UNICS's largest lead of the game, 35-43, late in the quarter. Tobey and Guillem Vives got Valencia rolling again and Matt Thomas's basket-plus-foul capped an 8-1 run to bring the hosts within 1. McCollum ended the third quarter with a triple that made it 44-48. Valencia narrowed the gap and then jumped in front 53-52 with a Matt Thomas floater. The teams started to trade shots and it was tied 56-56 with 5 minutes to play. Vives stepped up with a go-ahead triple at one end and a block on the other to give Valencia a 61-60 edge with 2 minutes remaining. Will Thomas made it a two-possession game when he scored in the paint inside the final minute and the hosts made their free throws down the stretch to wrap up the win.

Key contributor

Will Thomas came into the game with 4:22 on the clock in the fourth quarter and the game tied at 56-56. At that point, he had just a single point beside his name, but he would become Valencia's go-to guy down the stretch. The big guy scored the next basket in the game before assisting on the go-ahead triple by Guillem Vives. Will Thomas added a pair of buckets inside the final minute to give Valencia a two-possession lead from which UNICS never recovered.

Telling stats

In part because of strong play on defense, both teams shot poorly in the game and UNICS, in particular, paid a price for that. The visitors shot 39.3% on three-pointers this season entering the game, but made just 4 of 21 (19.1%) in Valencia. After shooting 78.7% on free throws for the season, UNICS was 10 of 15 (66.7%) in the game. An average shooting night would have lifted UNICS, though Valencia (6 of 23 on threes, 26.1%) was not much better.

Jamar Smith's drought

In Game 2 of the quarterfinals, Jamar Smith saw his streak of consecutive EuroCup games with at least 1 three-pointer made snapped at 54 games. He was 0 for 4 from downtown in this game to mark the second time in three games he failed to connect from behind the arc.

Game 2 on Friday

UNICS hosts Game 2 of the best-of-three series on Friday. UNICS is undefeated at home this season and will try to force a Game 3 back in Valencia with a victory. Three-time champion Valencia will clinch its sixth finals appearance with a win.

Mike Tobey - Valencia Basket (photo Miguel Angel Polo - Valencia) - EC18
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Eurocupbasketball.com
Referees: ZAMOJSKI, JAKUB; PETEK, SASO; ROSSI, MICHELE
Attendance: 7170
By Quarter1234
Valencia Basket11171625
UNICS Kazan10201816
End of Quarter1234
Valencia Basket11284469
UNICS Kazan10304864
Valencia Basket
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
6 ABALDE, ALBERTO 5:24 5   1/1 2/2       2         3 1 5
7 LABEYRIE, LOUIS 16:43   0/2 0/1   1 2 3           2   -2
9 VAN ROSSOM, SAM 19:50 4 2/3 0/3   1 2 3 1       1 1 1 3
10 THOMAS, WILL 25:36 7 3/4 0/1 1/2 1 1 2 1   2 1     4 10
13 TOBEY, MIKE 20:12 14 5/7 0/1 4/8 4 2 6     1 3   1 5 19
14 DUBLJEVIC, BOJAN 17:27 3 0/3 1/4   1 7 8 1         1 3 8
16 VIVES, GUILLEM 21:54 5 0/1 1/3 2/2   4 4 4   2 2 1 3 1 7
17 MARTINEZ, RAFA DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
19 SAN EMETERIO, FERNANDO 23:25 14 3/5 1/3 5/6   3 3 2   1     3 4 14
21 THOMAS, MATT 21:07 13 3/3 2/4 1/1   1 1             2 14
30 SASTRE, JOAN 14:37   0/2       1 1 3 1 1     3   -1
42 DOORNEKAMP, AARON 13:45 4 1/1 0/2 2/4   4 4 1         2 3 6
Team           1 2 3     1         2
Totals 200:00 69 17/31 6/23 17/25 9 29 38 15 1 8 6 2 19 24 85
        54.8% 26.1% 68%
Head coach: PONSARNAU, JAUME
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
UNICS Kazan
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
2 MORGAN, RAYMAR 24:16 6 3/5 0/1     1 1 1 2 2     3 2 4
3 EJIM, MELVIN 26:16 13 5/6 1/2   3 3 6 1         3   15
4 LOCKETT, TRENT DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5 NDOUR, MAURICE 29:25 8 3/8   2/2 2 7 9   1 1 2   4 2 12
6 MCCOLLUM, ERRICK 26:53 16 3/5 2/4 4/5 1 3 4 1   1   2 4 3 12
7 PONKRASHOV, ANTON 16:09 6 1/1 1/3 1/2       1         1 1 4
12 KLIMENKO, ARTEM 5:13 2 1/4       3 3         3 1 2  
15 SMITH, JAMAR 22:20 4 1/4 0/4 2/2   1 1 1         3 3 -1
27 KOSHCHEEV, ANDREY DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
42 KOLESNIKOV, EVGENY 6:12     0/1   1   1           1 1  
49 HENRY, PIERRIA 30:29 5 2/7 0/5 1/2   5 5 5   1   1 1 4 5
88 KAIMAKOGLOU, KOSTAS 12:47 4 2/2 0/1 0/2 1 1 2           3 1 1
Team           2 2 4     1         3
Totals 200:00 64 21/42 4/21 10/15 10 26 36 10 3 6 2 6 24 19 55
        50% 19% 66.7%
Head coach: PRIFTIS, DIMITRIS

Head Coaches

PONSARNAU, JAUME
Valencia Basket
"I thought we started the game correctly on defense, but otherwise very bad. We crashed against their scouting of us, and we didn't play dynamically, so the defense of UNICS was winning. And because we were attacking badly, they got some transition points. In the half-court, they didn't get much, though. We looked around for some players with confidence, but it was difficult because UNICS had a good game plan, closing us down, collapsing, giving us few options, just as we showed little ability to find options for ourselves. But on defense we were really good. They kept the lead, but that was based on a lot of difficult shots. We managed to get the game to the end very even, and there we had inspired play from Will [Thomas], who again has been the player dominating in the low post and finding points. And from there we were able to finish the game."
PRIFTIS, DIMITRIS
UNICS Kazan
"It was a tight game, a very close game in terms of the score. I think for the most part we had the control of the game. We made few turnovers, like Valencia also, but we shot very bad on three-point shots. And we lost our concentration in the fourth quarter, offensively and defensively. We received some silly baskets, like we offered help and received some threes, some personal defense, one-on-one in the low post. And at the same time, we didn't have the right discipline on offense. We go ahead and we wait for them in the second game in Kazan.”

Players

VAN ROSSOM, SAM
Valencia Basket
"It was a very tough, very defensive game, in which our defense allowed us to get the win. I think we believed in our chances throughout the entire game, because we were trailing for 35 minutes. The team kept working hard and in the end, we managed to bounce back. I am very happy with this win."
TOBEY, MIKE
Valencia Basket
"That was a really great, hard-fought game. I thought we fought really hard, especially at the end. Will [Thomas] dominated at the end for us. We went to him when we need him and it was a great team win. I'm excited for Friday to play hard again. The fans were great tonight. Thank you for coming out for supporting us. They were great tonight and really helped us pull through for the win."
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