Unicaja beats Chalon for its fourth straight victory
Unicaja Malaga picked up its fourth Turkish Airlines Euroleague win in a row by downing Elan Chalon-Sur-Saone 78-88 at Le Colisee on Thursday. The victory keeps Unicaja in the second place in Group B with a 4-1 record, while Chalon drops to 1-4 record with its fourth consecutive loss. The visitors used two big runs in the first half, 4-16 in the first quarter and 0-16 in the second, along with 13 offensive rebounds to build a double-digit halftime lead and Chalon never got closer than 5 points after the break. Krunoslav Simon led Unicaja in victory with 18 points on 3-for-3 three-point shooting, while Luka Zoric amassed 15 points plus 7 rebounds before fouling out in the third quarter. James Gist finished the game with 13 points and 7 rebounds, Marcus Williams had 12 points and 7 assists and Earl Calloway chipped in with 11. Blake Schilb led Chalon with a game-high 24 points, Brion Rush scored all of his 12 points in the second half and Joffrey Lauvergne had 10 in defeat.
First quarter: Simon helps Unicaja to early lead
Fran Vasquez hit a long jumper on the opening possession and Shelden Williams answered with a tip-in as the two big men started the trend of teams trading baskets. Shelden Williams scored again and Steed Tchicamboud hit the first triple of the game for hosts in the opening minutes, but Luka Zoric strung together 6 points to put Unicaja up 9-10. The visitors got their first significant separation with Earl Calloway and Krunoslav Simon hitting back-to-back-to-back triples to cap a 4-16 run for 13-22 lead. Chalon responded through Shelden Williams and Blake Schilb scoring inside and Nicolas Lang sank a shot from downtown to beat the buzzer and end the first quarter with the deficit down to 21-24.
Second quarter: Chalon pulls ahead, Unicaja pulls away
Schilb needed only 4 seconds in the second quarter to hit a triple that tied the game, and Ilian Evtimov followed it with a triple of his own, capping a 14-2 run and putting Chalon up 27-24. But once Chalon’s run ended, an even bigger Unicaja run started. With Zoric leading the domination on the offensive glass, the visitors scored 16 unanswered points including three triples from Marcus Williams on both ends of the run, while in between Txemi Urtasun came up with a driving layup-plus-foul and a hook shot. A pair of free throws from Zoric extended the lead to 14 points before Joffrey Lauvergne made it 32-44 at the break.
Third quarter: Chalon rallied from 15 down to stay in game
Zoric hit a jumper to start the third quarter, but Schilb answered with a shot from downtown to kick-start Chalon’s comeback. After Simon’s two-plus-one, Brion Rush hit back-to-back three-pointers for the hosts, However Shelden Williams fouled out in between the two triples after being called for an unsportsmanlike and a technical foul on the same play. That might have hurt Chalon’s lineup, but fired up the home crowd. Chalon got another boost with Schilb’s fastbreak dunk and a triple from Lauvergne that cut it to 47-52, however Calloway hit a runner, Simon sank a triple and Zoric hit 5 of 6 free throws in a 0-10 Unicaja 0-10 run that created a 15-point advantage. An Evtimov triple snapped the run, followed by four Chalon players combining to go 8 of 10 from the free throw line to bring Chalon back. Tchicamboud cut it to 5 points with a layup-plus-foul before Simon hit a buzzer-beating jumper to make it 61-68 at the end of the third quarter.
Fourth quarter: Unicaja seals the deal
Vasquez had an easy dunk to open the fourth quarter before Dragic tipped it into his own hoop. Vasquez and Gist took over as Unicaja’s threats in the paint, each scoring layups, while on the other end visitors played stingy defense that left Chalon without a field goal for more than four minutes. Rush ended the drought with a layup for 68-75, but Calloway knocked down a jumper and Gist got a put-back to make it 68-79 with three minutes remaining. Lauvergne’s dunk cut it to 72-80 and sparked some hope for a comeback, but with hosts pressing defensively, a couple of alley-oop dunks from Marcus Williams to Gist put the game away.
Thursday, November 8, 2012