Deon Thompson and Jaime Fernandez showed up just when Unicaja Malaga needed them; the duo helped fend off a Joventut Badalona comeback and kept Unicaja undefeated at home this season in the 7DAYS EuroCup.
Unicaja rebounded from a Round 1 loss in the Top 16 to pick up a 90-84 victory at home over Joventut to even its record in Group H at 1-1. Thompson scored a EuroCup career-high 23 points on a near-perfect night while Fernandez picked up 10 points, 2 rebounds, a career-high 10 assists and 3 steals for his first double-double.
Thompson, who scored 20 points in the Top 16 opening loss to Tofas Bursa, started in sensational form against Joventut with 11 points in the first 5 minutes - including a three-pointer, a put-back dunk and a baseline dunk - in heoing Unicaja to a double-digit lead. Thompson also flashed his outside shooting game with 4 three-pointers without a miss, while making 4 of 6 two-pointers and all 3 of his free throws. Thompson also grabbed 4 rebounds and 1 steal for a PIR of 27.
"[In the second quarter], we were afraid that Deon Thompson might hurt us on the inside but he ended up hurting us with his outside game," admitted Joventut coach Carles Duran.
Thompson added a three-pointer and a four-point play in the first 5 minutes of the second half as the lead grew to 61-39. Thompson did not score again the rest of the game and he did not play the fourth quarter.
Unicaja knew of Joventut’s ability to come back after the Badalona team erased a 12-point fourth quarter deficit to beat MoraBanc Andorra in Round 1 of the Top 16. Fernandez was outstanding all game and he came up with two big baskets in the final 4 minutes as the home side fended off the comeback - to remain undefeated this season at Palacio de Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena.