Laboral Kutxa, Adams hold off Unicaja
In an all-Spanish showdown, Laboral Kutxa Vitoria continued its strong play on its home floor by holding off Unicaja Malaga 79-74 on Friday night. A third consecutive home victory sent Laboral to the fifth place in Group F with a 3-4 record to keep its playoff chances intact, while Unicaja dropped to 1-6 and last place. Darius Adams got Laboral going in the first half, and the hosts took control, but did not pull away until three consecutive three-pointers from Fernando San Emeterio, Adams and Fabien Causeur opened a 65-54 lead late in the third quarter. The hosts never relinquished it, holding off Unicaja’s late charge. Adams paced the hosts with a career-high 20 points and 5 assists, while San Emeterio, Causeur and Tornike Shengelia had 12 apiece in victory. Mindaugas Kuzminskas scored 12, while Kostas Vasileiadis and Jayson Granger each added 11 in the losing effort.
First quarter: Adams sparks Laboral to early lead
Vasileiadis and Causuer traded three-pointers to open the scoring, and after Shengelia drove for a dunk, Caleb Green hit another three for Unicaja. But Davis Bertans scored a floater for the hosts, followed by Adams hitting a jumper. Laboral’s run continued with Bertans and Colton Iverson each throwing down a big dunk to make it 13-8. Vasileiadis hit a long jumper to snap the run and Mindaugas Kuzminskas scored an easy layup. The visitors tied it with Green splitting free throws, but Adams scored a layup and a pull-up triple for an 18-13 advantage. Green had a put-back, but a three-point play from Shengelia extended Laboral’s lead to 23-15. A layup from Jon Stefansson and a jumper from Kuzminskas halved the deficit. Causeur drove to the hoop to add to the hosts’ tally, and after a layup from Granger, San Emeterio scored from close range to give Laboral a 27-21 lead.
Second quarter: Granger gets Unicaja going
Granger hit a jumper for the first points of the quarter as Unicaja solidified its defense, coming up with a steal and forcing a shot-clock violation. But Mike James made a steal on the other end and raced for a thunderous dunk. And after Granger knocked down another jumper, Causeur drove the baseline for a layup that made it 31-25. Unicaja closed the gap with a layup from Carlos Suarez and fingernail tip-in by Will Thomas, before Granger nailed another jumper to tie it at 31-31. Kim Tillie made a pair of free throws to put Laboral back in front, before Ben Hansbrough drove for a layup high off the glass. Adams had a steal and raced for a basket, extending the lead to 37-31, before Granger and Hansbrough traded driving layups. A floater from Markovic cut it to 39-37, but entering a busy final minute, San Emeterio answered with a corner triple. Golubovic cut back the deficit with a put-back, and after Adams made a quick score from close range, Golubovic finished the half with a put-back dunk to make it 44-41 at halftime.
Third quarter: Laboral hits from downtown to pull away
Thomas tied the game with a three-pointer, but a layup from Causuer and a wide-open triple from Shengelia made it 49-44. Suarez answered right back with a three-pointer, but both teams went on a scoring drought until a dunk from Iverson made it 51-47. But Thomas hit a jumper from the foul line and assisted Suarez for a fastbreak layup to tie things at 51-51 midway through the quarter. After a timeout, Ryan Toolson made a technical free throw for Unicaja lead, but it lasted briefly as Adams buried a triple for the hosts, and Shengelia scored a layup after a spin-move on the baseline to lead 56-52. Laboral went on to pull away with back-to-back-to-back triples from San Emeterio, Adams and Causuer, which opened 65-54 margin. Kuzminskas made a put-back and Green an easy layup for Unicaja, cutting the deficit to 65-58.
Fourth quarter: Laboral holds off late charge as Adams seals it
Tillie had an emphatic dunk and a steal in the first minute of the quarter before Hansbrough hit a three-pointer from the right corner that made it 70-58. Stefansson answered from downtown, but San Emeterio scored a short jumper to get the margin back to double figures. A pair of free throws each from Kuzminskas and Vasileiadis cut it the difference to 7 points, but Adams fed Iverson for an easy layup and a 76-65 advantage. Laboral did not allow a field goal for more than six minutes until Thomas scored a layup, and Vasileiadis immediately stole the inbound pass and added another layup to get within 76-70 with 92 seconds to go. Unicaja forced turnovers on the next two possessions, and Vasileiadis hit a long jumper to make it a 4-point game, but Adams sealed the deal with a three-pointer, 79-72. Kuzminskas had a second-chance layup, but it was too little, too late as Laboral ran out the clock.
Friday, February 13, 2015