Williams’s last-second three lifts Unicaja in Berlin
Marcus Williams’s pull-up three-pointer with less than a second to go lifted Unicaja Malaga to a 65-67 victory over Alba Berlin at o2 World in the German capital on Thursday. The shot capped an exciting game with both teams in it until the buzzer. The win gave Unicaja a 3-4 record and brought it within one of fourth place at the midway point of the Top 16. Alba slipped to 1-6 in Group E. The hosts seemed to gain the momentum when they took a 42-34 halftime lead, but Krunoslav Simon opened the third quarter with 3 three-pointers to put Unicaja back infront. Alba regained control early in the fourth quarter after a technical foul on Luka Zoric. Unicaja stayed close from that point, but did not go ahead until Williams sank his game-winning shot. Simon paced Unicaja with 12 points, Fran Vazquez added 11 and Earl Calloway and Williams each finished with 10. Deon Thompson totaled 16 points and 9 rebounds and Nihad Djedovic also scored 16 in defeat for Alba.
First quarter: Calloway’s shooting helps Unicaja grab slim lead
Unicaja got the start it wanted as Calloway drained a triple and Simon converted a three-point play in transition before Thompson broke the ice for Alba from the line. Simon provided another highlight with a block on Derrick Byars, but the hosts fought back. Following a Je’Kel Foster triple and a Byars jumper, it was 7-8. A second-chance layup by Zoran Dragic put Unicaja up 5 midway through the quarter. Zach Morley came in for Alba and soon sandwiched a pair of baskets around a Calloway triple. Morley followed with an assist to Djedovic before the latter used a pretty spin move to get Berlin within 15-17. Heiko Schaffartzik struck from downtown to even the score and Yassin Idbihi gave Alba its first lead from the line, however Calloway ended the quarter with a step-back three-pointer that made it 20-22.
Second quarter: Thompson in the paint, Wood on defense put Alba ahead
The teams traded baskets for several minutes to start the quarter before a Djedovic layup put the Albatross up 26-24. A pair of baskets by Thompson helped Berlin hang on to the lead and a Foster triple extended it to 33-28. Vazquez answered quickly with a basket-plus-foul, however a trio of steals by Wood resulted in baskets for Thompson and Wood and ensured the hosts remained in front and increased the lead to 39-31. Luka Zoric revived Unicaja with a three-point play before Djedovic layup left the hosts with a 42-34 halftime advantage.
Third quarter: Simon’s triples bring Unicaja back
Simon drained 3 three-pointers in the first 90 seconds of the second half to bring his team right back. Andy Panko capped a 0-11 run before Djedovic free throws ended the hosts’ drought. Neither team found the basket for over two minutes before Djedovic put Berlin in front again, 46-45. Panko connected from downtown, but Alba captain Sven Schultze evened the score. Kosta Perovic came through with Unicaja’s next 7 points – 5 of them from the charity stripe – to lift the visitors to a 51-55 lead through three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Williams steps up with game-winning three
Williams and Djedovic swapped jumpers to start the quarter. Djedovic continued his strong night by trimming the deficit to 55-57. A technical foul on Zoric changed the game as it sent him to the bench with 5 and allowed Foster to even the score before Thompson’s tip-in gave Alba the lead. Vazquez followed with a long jumper to tie the game at 59-59 midway through the quarter. Perovic scored inside, but Unciaja’s lead did not last long as Wood drained a triple from the corner and Thompson muscled his way through Perovic to make it 64-61 with three minutes to go. After a timeout, Vazquez drilled a baseline jumper. Thompson and Williams each split free throws to keep Alba up 1 with a minute left. Unicaja got the ball with 20 seconds left and after winding the clock down, Williams pulled up for a long three to win the game. Berlin lobbed a clever ball to Thompson, but he missed a tip at the buzzer as Unicaja went away with the win.
Thursday, February 14, 2013