Unicaja opens campaign with big road win
Unicaja Malaga opened its new Turkish Airlines Euroleague campaign in style, downing Cedevita Zagreb 63-78 on the road in the Croatian capital on Thursday. Unicaja took control of the game, and the lead for good, in the second quarter during which Fran Vazquez scored 13 points, all while the visitors put together a 0-14 run late in that period, helping it to 36-47 halftime advantage. In the second half margin was often in double figures, and Cedevita never got closer than 7 points despite the efforts from Miro Bilan and Ante Delas. But Unicaja kept the lead safe with long range shots from Ryan Toolson, and fourth quarter spurt from Caleb Green, as the visitors cruised to victory. Toolson netted 20 points for Unicaja, Vazquez finished with 13 plus 8 rebounds, and Mindaugas Kuzminskas scored 12 points. For Cedevita, which missed point guard Roko Ukic, it was Bilan leading the way with 15 points plus 10 rebounds, and Ante Delas added 12 for the hosts in defeat.
Cedevita holds slim lead after trading early blows
Lovro Mazalin nailed a long jumper to start the scoring, and Fran Pilepic buried a three-pointer for 5-2 early Cedevita lead. Mindaugas Kuzminskas tied it with a corner triple for Unicaja and Will Thomas scored inside to give the visitors their first lead. But Pilepic knocked down a mid-range jumper, and added a fastbreak layup to the tally for 9-7. Kostas Vasileiadis answered from downtown for Unicaja, and Kuzminskas followed with an easy layup for 9-12. Cedevita replied, with Nemanja Gordic hitting a long jumper, and after Ryan Toolson buried a baseline jumper for Unicaja, a triple from Ante Delas tied it at 14-14. Unicaja regained the lead with Caleb Green burying a triple, but Ante Delas drove for a layup, sparking a run that also had Miro Bilan and Marko Tomas finish fastbreak for 20-18 Cedevita advantage after 10 minutes.
The visitors pull away behind Vazquez and 0-14 run
Toolson hit a baseline jumper, opening the scoring in the second quarter, and Vazquez opened his tally with a layup-plus-free throw. After Miro Bilan and Jon Stefansson traded baskets inside for 22-25, Luka Babic first found Zubicic with a behind-the-back pass for an easy fastbreak dunk, then followed it with a triple for 27-27. Vazquez was on a run for the visitors, stringing together 6 points inside, including a dunk, but Bilan answered with a put-back and a dunk for 33-33. However, another basket from Vazquez, this time a dunk on a breakaway, sparked a 0-14 run during which Toolson nailed a triple, while Stefan Markovic, Vazquez and Thomas scored from close range for Unicaja’s 14-point margin. Zubcic finished the quarter with a triple just before the buzzer, making it 36-47 at the halftime.
Unicaja keeps the margin in double figures
Neither team scored a basket in the third quarter for more than 2 minutes before Jayson Granger scored a runner-plus-free throw, helping lead reach 36-51. However, Cedevita was not going to go away. Marko Tomas sunk a triple and Babic made a long baseline jumper. After Golubovic scored a put-back, Ante Delas drove for a layup and 43-53. The hosts hustled for loose balls, and stepped up defensively while trying to mount a comeback. Bilan’s jump-hook cut the margin to 7 points, but Unicaja pushed it back to the double digits as Toolson hit a tough corner triple, before an alley-oop dunk from Kuzminskas and a baseline floater from Toolson made it 48-61 after 30 minutes.
Green and Toolson finish off the job
Mario Delas dished it to for Bilan layup, and sunk a baseline jumper to open the fourth quarter, but Toolson nailed another tough jumper for 52-63. Cedevita made another run, getting things going with a jumper from Mario Delas before steals and fastbreak baskets from Gordic and Babic cut it to 58-65. But Unicaja did not allow another basket for more than 3 minutes, while Green first got a lucky bounce on a jumper, then finished a fastbreak with a put-back for 58-70. Ante Delas buried a three to give hope to the hosts, but Green and Toolson sealed the deal.
Thursday, October 16, 2014