Unicaja edges Montepaschi in overtime thriller
Unicaja Malaga rallied from a 14-point fourth quarter deficit to snatch a dramatic 91-89 overtime victory over Montepaschi Siena at Martin Carpena Arena on Friday night. Earl Calloway and James Gist were Unicaja’s heroes: Calloway scored a game-winning driving layup with 17 seconds left in overtime and Gist blocked Marcelus Kemp’s late attempt to send game into second extra session. With the dramatic win, Unicaja climbs into second place in the Group B standings with a 2-1 record, while Siena remains the only winless team in the group after three games. The Italian champions used 9 first-half three-pointers and 4 more triples in the third quarter to build a 59-73 lead, but Unicaja went on a 14-0 run that tied the game at 73-73. Bobby Brown forced overtime with 5.5 seconds left in regulation with a lovely floater, but it was Calloway and Gist who had the last laugh in overtime. Calloway scored 12 points of his 15 points in the fourth-quarter run and overtime and Marcus Williams also scored 15, connecting on 4 of 7 three-point shots while dishing 6 assists. Gist added 13 points, Krunoslav Simon finished with 11 and Luka Zoric had 10 points for Unicaja. Brown led Siena with game-high 22 points along with 6 assists, Marcelus Kemp scored 16, Moss finished with 15. Tomas Ress 11 and Viktor Sanikidze garbbed 13 rebounds in defeat.
First quarter: Unicaja grabs the early lead
Txemi Urtasun scored the first points of the game with a runner and David Moss hit a three-pointer to open Siena’s account. Both teams tried to play uptempo basketball early, but had problems making shots until Luka Zoric layed it up on a fast break and Krunoslav Simon hit a triple for 7-3 Unicaja lead. The visitors scored on only one of their first eight possessions, before Mario Kasun snapped that drought with a pair of free throws after five minutes of play. In the next two minutes, though, Unicaja extended its lead to 14-6 with Zoric scoring inside, Williams driving to the basket and Simon hitting another triple from the left corner. Kemp and Simon each hit 2 free throws, and then Dragic made a fast-break layup for an 18-8 advantage with less than two minutes remaining in the quarter. The visitors were still on only 1 field goal up to that point, but Ress and Brown hit back-to-back three-pointers to cut the lead to 18-14. Zoric had another layup and Kristjan Kangur hit a pair from the charity stripe to make it 20-16 after the first quarter.
Second quarter: Siena makes 6 three-pointers to pull ahead
Matt Janning and Urtasun traded three-pointers to start the scoring in the second quarter. Kemp converted 3 free throws after being fouled behind the arc. Zoran Dragic hit a floater after a timeout by Unicaja head coach Jasmin Repesa, however Siena answered with back-to-back-to-back threes. First, Janning hit one to tie the game at 25-25, then Kemp sank another to give Siena a 27-28 advantage. Janning followed it up with his third shot from downtown of the quarter to make it 28-31. That lead was short-lived, because Gist hit free throws and then made a steal for uncontested dunk to give the lead back to Unicaja, 32-31 with less than five minutes to go in the half. Siena was back up by 1 point after Sanikidze’s free throws and a jumper by Moss with 2:40 seconds left in the half, which was also Montepaschi’s first two-point field goal in the game. In a crazy final two minutes of the quarter, Moss scored again for a 34-37 Siena advantage, but Zoric answered with a mid-range jumper. Sanikidze hit a triple to give Siena a 4-point lead only to see Calloway hit a triple of his own. On the ensuing possession, Brown hit another three-pointer, Siena’s sixth of the quarter, but Unicaja went into halftime trailing only 42-43 as Gist hit yet another triple to end the half.
Third quarter: Montepaschi races out to a 13-point edge
Moss hit a pair of jumpers to open the third quarter and extend Siena’s lead to 5 points. Kosta Perovic and Sanikidze traded baskets before Perovic’s hook-shot cut the lead to 46-49 and kept Unicaja close, but only for a short period of time. The visitors sped up the tempo on offense and their zone defense gave Unicaja trouble. Meanwhile, Ress and Brown sank back-to-back triples for Siena’s first double-digit advantage, 46-56, with less than five minutes gone in the quarter. Vasquez scored inside, but big man Ress hit his third triple for 48-59. It took hosts almost two minutes before Williams answered from downtown, but Ress made a shot and Brown sank an open three-pointer for a 51-64 lead. Williams gave the hosts hope with a triple-plus-foul, but Kasun maintained a double-digit margin by muscling in a layup and Montepaschi entered the final 10 minutes holding a 57-68 lead.
Fourth quarter: Unicaja rallies to take lead, Siena forces overtime
Brown and Kemp hit long jumpers for Siena to bring the lead to 14 points. Gist scored a layup and a three-pointer as he tried to keep Unicaja’s hopes alive. Calloway split 2 free throws, but then made a jump shot to cut the deficit to 65-73. Unicaja’s zone defense cooled off Siena’s downtown shooting, while Zoric scored from close range and then dove to the floor hustling for a rebound, which allowed Calloway to hit a wide open triple for to get within 70-73 with less than five minutes to go. Calloway split free throws making it a 12 unanswered points for Unicaja, and after neither team was able to convert on the possessions that followed until Gist brought everyone to their feet with a spectacular reverse dunk-plus-foul. Gist missed the free throw, leaving the game tied at 73-73 with little over two minutes to go. Sanikidze scored 2 free throws that snapped a 14-0 run. Vasquez hit from close range to tie the game and Brown hit a pair of free throws to give Siena another 2-point lead. Williams answered with a three-pointer that put Unicaja back up, 78-77, with 54 seconds remaining. Sanikdze only split free throws, and Vasquez made a dunk with 24 seconds left in the quarter for 80-78. However, Brown’s floating layup with 5.5 seconds remaining tied the game at 80-80 and after a timeout, Simon missed a game-winning shot with Moss’s hand in his face. Overtime.
Overtime: Unicaja pulls out the victory
Simon missed a three-pointer at the start of extra time, but Williams sank a shot from downtown on the next possession to give Unicaja an 83-80 advantage. Brown hit 2 free throws before Simon made only 1 of 2 from the line with three minutes left in overtime. Brown’s layup tied the game at 84-84 and after Siena forced a turnover from Vasquez, a triple by Moss gave Siena an 84-87 lead. There was plenty of time for more lead-changes as 2 free throws from Urtasun and a triple from Calloway gave Unicaja an 89-87 advantage with 38 seconds to go. Kemp answered quickly after a timeout with a tough turnaround jumper, but Calloway drove to the basket with 17 seconds left to make it 91-89. Siena had the final possession, and Kemp attempted to send the game into a second overtime, but Gist blocked his shot from five meters to secure a thrilling victory for Unicaja.
Friday, October 26, 2012