Unicaja registered its second consecutive win and moved up the Group C standing by beating Pau-Orthez 75-97 on the road on Wednesday in France. Unicaja improved to 2-2 and a third-place tie with Panathinaikos and Tau Ceramica, while Pau-Orthez dropped to 1-3 with its second loss at home. J.R. Bremer led the winners with 21 points and 7 assists. Berni Rodriguez added 20 on 4 of 5 two-pointers and 3 of 4 threes. Stephane Risacher had 16 points on 3 of 5 three-pointers .Jorge Garbajosa added 12 points and 8 rebounds, while Florent Pietrus had 10 points in his first-ever game against his former team. Mire Chatman posted 15 points and 8 assists for Pau. Thierry Rupert and T.J. Lux added 12 apiece while Laurent Foirest had 10 points. Unicaja broke the game in the final period from downtown, where it made 15 of 29 three-point shots. The guests also outrebounded Pau 33-22.
Both teams started the game with man-to-man defense, as Pau looked for its big men in the early going. Lux and Rupert scored near the basket for a 6-2 Pau lead. Unicaja committed 2 quick turnovers, while Lux added a fastbreak dunk for an 8-2 lead after 4 minutes. Unicaja made just 1 of its first 6 shots, but managed to seal the defensive rebounds. Finally, a pair of free throws by Bremer ignited a 0-7 run in which Garbajosa drilled a big three-pointer to give Unicaja its first lead of the game at 8-9. Chatman stepped up with a three-point play and Thierry Gadou came off the bench to make a five-meter jumper, but Risacher answered with a triple and Garbajosa added 2 free throws for a 13-15 Unicaja edge. The lead traded hands again until Chatman followed Foirest's three-pointer with an outstanding layup in penetration to send Pau ahead 25-20 after 10 minutes.
While Pau scored nothing for 2 minutes of the second quarter, back-to-back threes by Florent Pietrus and Bremer gave Unicaja the lead, 25-26 edge. Pau struggled against Unicaja's man-to-man defense, and even when Chatman hit a three-pointer as the shot clock expired, Rodriguez added a three-point play for a 30-32 Unicaja edge. Unicaja got the best of a three-point shootout, as Davor Marcelic scored from downtown for Pau, but Rodriguez and Garbajosa answered double for a 35-40 margin.Even after a timeout, Pau failed to answer Unicaja's physical defense. Meanwhile, Walter Herrmann added a tip-in for the guests and an outstanding Rodriguez made a layup for a 35-44 difference after 18 minutes. Foirest scored 5 quick points, but also picked up his fourth foul, before Pietrus finished the quarter in front of his old fans with a two-handed dunk that gave his his new team, Unicaja, a 42-50 margin at halftime.
Pau improved on offense and played more aggressive early in the third quarter as Chatman and Marcelic slashed to the basket for layups while Rupert added back-to-back fast breakdunks. All that the hosts within 50-53. After a Unicaja timeout, however, Bremer and Risacher drilled a three-pointer apiece to boost the guests' lead to 52-59. Pau struck back with a corner triple by Xane D'Almeida while Lux added a two-handed dunk in traffic, but the Unicaja duo of Risacher and Bremer helped the guests retain a 57-63 lead after 26 minutes. Pau needed a go-to guy and D'Almeida stepped up with 5 unanswered points to make it a one-point game, 62-63. Risacher scored in penetration before Carlos Cabezas banged in a three to give Unicaja some fresh air on the way to a 64-72 advantage after 30 minutes.
Pietrus opened the final period with a three-pointer from the left corner to give Unicaja its biggest lead so far, 64-75. It took Pau almost 2 minutes to score until D'Almeida hit a layup, but in general the hosts could not beat Unicaja's strong defense. Meanwhile, Gintaras Einikis made a wide open three which Bremer followed with a three-point play to boost the guests' lead to 66-81 with 7 minutes to go. Pau called timeout, but found no solutions. Bremer fired in Unicaja's 13th three-pointer to break the game for good. Pau only managed to exchange baskets the rest of the way as Unicaja, despite Pepe Sanchez's knee injury in the final minute, followed a fantastic game through to the buzzer.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004