Unicaja smashes Mornar Bar for 7th straight win
Unicaja Malaga ran roughshod over Mornar Bar on Wednesday night at Palacio De Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena in recording a 111-76 victory. Unicaja won its seventh straight game to improve to 7-1 in Group D and remain tied atop the standings. In doing so Unicaja set club records for scoring, rebounds (49), offensive rebounds (22), two-pointers made (30) and performance index rating (159). The hosts scored the first 10 points of the game and led by as many as 21 in the first quarter, 28 in the second and saw the margin peak at 45 (101-56) in the fourth. Giorgi Shermadini led the way with 19 points, Kyle Wiltjer and Sasu Salin scored 17 apiece, Jaime Fernandez tallied 14 points and 8 assists, Brian Roberts amassed 13 points and 8 assists and Mathias Lessort contributed 10 points. Bobby Brown led the Mornar attack with 18 points and 9 assists, Nemanja Vranes added 14 and Uros Lukovic and Strahinja Micovic had 10 each.
Shermadini and Wiltjer put the hosts in control early with a combined 13 points in a 19-2 charge to start the game. Back-to-back threes by Brown and Landing Sane got Mornar going, but Unicaja had an 11-0 run in store to make it 31-10. Sane's second three-pointer ended the first quarter with Mornar facing a 31-15 deficit. Vranes connected twice from downtown for the visitors, but Sasu Salin matched him before Fernandez stoked the lead to 46-21. Salin ran wild before Dani Diez's three-pointer extended the margin to 58-30. Lukovic and Brown contributed to the Mornar effort to make it 62-41 at the break. Shermadini scored three times in a 10-0 run in the third as Unicaja kept its foot on the gas and went ahead 77-45. The scoreboard showed 88-54 after three quarters and Unicaja scored the first 10 points of the fourth, with Wiltjer accounting for 5 of them. The lead peaked at 101-56 on a three by Roberts midway through the fourth quarter and Unicaja cruised the rest of the way.
Unicaja rewrote the club record book for EuroCup games for scoring (111), rebounds (49), offensive rebounds (22), two-pointers made (30) and performance index rating (159). The PIR total is the second-highest in EuroCup history and the most since Joventut Badalona scored 173 against Guildford Heat in December 2007. Unicaja tied a club record with 31 assists, which is also tied for the fifth-most in EuroCup history. The record is 34 shared by Aykon TED Ankara Kolejliler and Khimki Moscow Region, both from the 2013-14 season.
Giorgi Shermadini is having an exceptional season, but he has feasted on Mornar Bar as he has on no other. Shermadini was the EuroCup co-MVP for Round 3 after collecting a performance index rating of 34 against Mornar. His totals of 19 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in this game came in less than 15 minutes on the floor. Shermadini is now averaging 22.5 points on 20-of-25 shooting (80.0%) against Mornar and 15.8 points on 58.3% shooting against everyone else.
More impressive than the total amount of assists for Unicaja was that the team committed only 4 turnovers and none of them came from the guards! Mathias Lessort had half of them and forwards Dragan Milosavljevic and Kyle Wiltjer the other 2. Guards Jaime Fernandez and Brian Roberts combined for 16 assists, 3 steals and 0 turnovers.
Unicaja travels to Russia for its next EuroCup game on December 12 to face UNICS Kazan in a showdown for first place in the group. A Unicaja win will clinch it the top spot. Mornar Bar hosts Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt the same day needing a win to keep control of its destiny in the competition.
Wednesday, November 21, 2018