2008-09Regular SeasonRound 9
January 08, 2009 CET: 18:30

Unicaja outlasted Cibona 76-77

Unicaja keeps fighting to win Group A by edging Cibona 76-77 in Zagreb, Croatia on Thursday night. Unicaja improved to 7-2 and keeps its chances to become a top-seeded team in the Top 16 Draw. Meanwhile, Cibona dropped to 5-4 but is already qualified to the Top 16. Marcus Haislip led the winners with 14 points. Boniface Ndong posted a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds while Jiri Welsch and Omar Cook each had 10 points for Unicaja. Alan Anderson had 19 points in his first Euroleague game with Cibona. Davor Kus added 13 while Earl Calloway got 11 for the hosts. A three-pointer by Vedran Vukusic gave Cibona a 21-18 edge after 10 minutes. An outstanding Anderson allowed Cibona to boost its margin to double-digits, 44-34, right before halftime. Unicaja improved its defense in the fourth quarter while German Gabriel and Cook struck from downtown in a 0-14 run that put the guests ahead for good, 62-69. Anderson and Kus brought Cibona with 76-77 and the hosts had a last chance, but Niksa Prkacin missed a layup seconds before the final buzzer.

Anderson needed 45 seconds to get Cibona going with a three-pointer in his first Euroleague shot this season. Carlos Jimenez answered from downtown for a 3-3 tie. Unicaja tried to power the offensive board with Haislip, Jimenez and Robert Archibald together on court. Luksa Andric, however, stepped up with a layup-plus-foul while Anderson scored oof a steal for a 8-3 Cibona lead. Archibald made free throws that Andric erased with a power layup. Haislip took over with a three-pointer to get Unicaja within 10-8. Kus shined with a driving layup that Haislip improved with an outstanding dunk-and-foul. Kus insisted with a stop-and-pop jumper but a red hot Haislip struck again from downtown to tie it at 14-14. Calloway nailed a six-meter jumper while Anderson added a driving layup for a 18-15 Cibona edge. Jiri Welsch and Vukusic traded triples to fix the score at 21-18 at the end of the first quarter.

Marin Rozic fired in a seven-meter bomb to boost the hosts' lead to 24-18 early in the second quarter. Ndong made free throws that Carlos Cabezas followed with a three-point play in a 0-7 run that Berni Rodriguez capped with a layup to give Unicaja its first lead, 24-25. Ndong had a huge block on Rozic but Vukusic stepped up for Cibona with free throws. Jimenez and Prkacin traded three-pointers while back-to-back fast break baskets by Calloway gave Cibona a 33-28 edge. Calloway took over with a wild three-point play but Haislip scored in penetration to get Unicaja back on track. Rozic sank free throws that Haislip erased with a power layup. Cibona kept dominating the defensive board with Homan and Bruno Sundov on court now. Jared Homan made foul shots that Cook matched with a driving layup. Anderson followed a put-back basket with free throws to give Cibona its first double-digit lead, 44-34. Free throws by Thomas Kelati - his first points - got Unicaja within 44-36 at halftime.

Both teams traded missed shots after the break until Ndong stepped up with a free throw. Kus shined with a reverse layup that Ndong erased in the other end. Cibona kept dominating the boards but Unicaja was a different team in defense now, diving for loose balls and much more intense. Cibona had entered the foul bonus so Unicaja opted to attack the basket. Cabezas sank free throws but Andric erased it with a jump hook and soon gave Cibona a 49-42 margin. Rodriguez fed Ndong for an alleyoop dunk but Anderson answered with foul shots and Kus added a floating layup. Cabezas and Archibald kept pacing Unicaja with more foul shots but Cibona stayed focused, as Rozic finished a second-chance offense with a corner triple. Rodriguez and Sundov traded free throws but Unicaja kept struggling to find open shots. Sundov kept pacing Cibona with a second-chance layup but a big triple by Cook made it a six-point game, 59-53, after three quarters.

Welsch sank a long two-pointer early in the fourth period but Sundov immediately answered from downtown to keep Cibona out of trouble, 62-55. Unicaja tried to open the court with Gabriel on the floor. Meanwhile, Kelati made free throws while Welsch added a put-back basket for a 62-59 deficit. Ndong followed a jumper with a huge alleyoop dunk to put Unicaja back ahead, 62-63. Cibona kept struggling to score while Gabriel and Cook capped a 0-14 run with back-to-back three-pointers for a 62-69 Unicaja margin with over 4 minutes to go. Anderson answered from downtown while Ndong and Homan traded free throws for a 66-70 score. Archibald took over with a reverse layup and soon added a free throw for a 66-73 Unicaja lead with 2 minutes remaining. Calloway rescued Cibona with a fast break layup but a three-pointer by Kelati seemed to seal the outcome, 68-75. Anderson, however, answered from downtown while a jump ball situation gave Cibona an extra possession. Kus buried a triple for a 74-75 Cibona deficit with 17.5 seconds to go. Cook sank free throws that Kus erased with a layup. Unicaja committed a turnover, giving Cibona the last possession with 7.2 seconds remaining. Prkacin missed around the basket while Cabezas grabbed the rebound and raced downcourt until the final buzzer, allowing Unicaja to get a crucial road win.

Thursday, January 8, 2009
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Attendance: 5200
By Quarter1234
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  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 HOMAN, JARED 17:47 3 0/2   3/4 2 1 3 1   2     3 2 1
5 KUS, DAVOR 24:12 13 5/8 1/3         2 2 2     4   6
8 PRKACIN, NIKOLA 22:51 3 0/3 1/1   4 5 9 2 4 2     4   9
9 TROHA, ROBERT 9:00     0/1     1 1                
11 VUKUSIC, VEDRAN 9:39 5 0/1 1/1 2/2 3   3 1 1 1     4 1 5
12 ANDRIC, LUKSA 15:07 8 3/4   2/3 2 1 3 1   1 2 1 3 3 10
13 CALLOWAY, EARL 26:25 11 5/8 0/3 1/1 1 3 4 3 2 3     3 2 10
14 SUNDOV, BRUNO 14:36 7 1/6 1/2 2/2 4   4     2     1 2 4
15 ZUBCIC, TOMISLAV DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
19 PRINC, VEDRAN 3:00     0/1                   1   -2
20 ROZIC, MARIN 24:34 7 1/4 1/5 2/2   7 7     1   1 1 2 6
32 ANDERSON, ALAN 32:49 19 3/11 3/7 4/4 1 3 4 1 3 2     3 4 14
Totals 200:00 76 18/47 8/24 16/18 17 21 38 11 12 16 2 2 27 16 63
        38.3% 33.3% 88.9%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
00 COOK, OMAR 24:19 10 1/3 2/3 2/3       3 1 4     1 3 8
4 GOMIS, JOSEPH DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5 RODRIGUEZ, BERNI 12:44 2 1/2 0/1         2 1 2       1 2
9 WELSCH, JIRI 15:42 10 2/2 1/1 3/4 1   1 1 1 1     2 2 11
10 CABEZAS, CARLOS 16:05 6 1/1   4/5   1 1             5 11
12 NDONG, BONIFACE 25:46 13 4/11   5/8 1 9 10     5 1 1 2 5 11
13 GABRIEL, GERMAN 10:27 3 0/1 1/3     1 1   1       2 1 1
20 JIMENEZ, CARLOS 22:56 6   2/2   1 8 9   1 2     2 2 14
21 ARCHIBALD, ROBERT 15:40 7 1/3   5/6 4 1 5 1   2     5 3 6
23 KELATI, THOMAS 28:02 6 1/4 0/3 4/4 2 3 5 1 1 3     1 2 5
24 HAISLIP, MARCUS 28:19 14 3/6 2/6 2/5 2 2 4   2 1 1 1 1 3 11
Totals 200:00 77 14/33 8/19 25/35 11 25 36 8 8 20 2 2 16 27 80
        42.4% 42.1% 71.4%

Head Coaches

“We started well and motivated, we dominated the first two quarters. They hit a three-pointer at the end of the third to cut our lead to six points, and in the fourth quarter, we lacked concentration. We did not lack strength, because in the last minute we managed to come back, but it was as if they were playing in a higher gear than we were. Unicaja is the team that grinds you little by little and uses the crises you have during the game against you. That is what happened to us. In the last seven seconds, we executed as we wanted, we got the ball to Prkacin but the ball did not want to go in.”
“Cibona played first half with much more aggressiveness and intensity than us. They outrebounded us and had more steals, so I was surprised that at the half they were up by only eight points. However, in the second half little by little we were getting closer. At the end, we were lucky, because we had two turnovers and when game finishes this way it is possible to lose or to win. We were lucky to come out with a victory.”


“We came back, had the opportunity to win. I thought the ball was going in on the last play. It is our first home loss in the Euroleague this season, but this is a positive and good season. We have to build on it and keep getting better. We have two new players and need to get adjusted to them too.”
"We tried to keep up our rhythm with Unicaja the whole game but unfortunately, they made a big difference at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Unicaja is a very strong and very aggressive team, they play at the high rhythm the entire game, and we did not manage to control that. However, at the end, we still had a shot for the win and that is all we could ask for. We missed it, but that is sport. I made big shots near the end of the game but that is what we practice. This year we have some good players on Cibona, we don't depend on one player and we proved that throughout the Euroleague competition. There are no easy groups in Top 16, and I hope we are going to stay strong on our home court, which is very tough. I think we can play against anybody and win every game."
"It was a crazy game. Cibona played very hard, they play well on their home court and we were kind of sloppy in the first half, but responded in the second. We had some mistakes at the end, like the one I made, but luckily, we won the game. It does not matter if we are first or second. You can be first and still end up in a harder group. It is much more important to be first in your group in the Top 16."
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