Unicaja prevails over Valencia
U18 Unicaja Malaga started its Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Valencia campaign with a hard-fought 56-68 victory over host U18 Valencia Basket in Group B. Pierre Sene collected 14 points and 13 rebounds while Jose Tanchyn added 11 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks and Rafa Santos chipped in 3 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals for Unicaja, which won the rebounding battle 63-43 - including 24 offensive rebounds to offset shooting just 38.6% on two-pointers and 28.6% on three-pointers. Valencia lost despite Freds Bagatskis scoring 19 points with 5 three-pointers and Diego Rivas tallying 17 points. These two teams faced off in their final group game in last season’s ANGT Valencia and Unicaja won 60-58 to reach the first place game.
Bernard Edokpayi scored the first basket of the game for Unicaja with Bagatskis getting 5 points at the other end for Valencia’s first lead 5-4. Tanchyn knocked down 2 three-pointers and Unicaja was up 13-16, but the host side was on fire from deep as Bagatskis made a third triple, Rivas drained his second and Hector Marco also connected from long range in building a 26-18 lead, which was 26-19 after 10 minutes. Sene trimmed the deficit to 27-23 as the Valencia sharpshooters cooled off until Hugo Gomez and Rivas hit from deep midway through the quarter and Daniel Nunez also connected from the outside for a 40-31 cushion. Unicaja scored the final 6 points of the half and trailed 40-37 at the intermission.
Tamba scored the first 5 points of the second half and Unicaja extended the run to 0-13 spanning the second and third quarters and went up 40-44. Bagatskis answered with the next 5 points to put Valencia back ahead, but Unicaja reeled off a 3-14 run to grab a 48-58 lead, which was 50-58 after 30 minutes. Valencia kept Unicaja scoreless for nearly 5 minutes to start the fourth quarter, but could only manage one score to get within 52-58. Tanchyn converted a three-point play to make it a double-digit lead again and Edokpayi increased the cushion to 52-64 with less than 4 minutes to play. Bagatskis did hit a three-pointer for Valencia, but the home side just could not find any rhythm on offense and Daniil Shelist scored a big basket with 82 seconds remaining to make it 56-66.
Sunday, December 27, 2020
David Hein, Euroleague.net