Unicaja cruises past Arka and into Top 16
Unicaja Malaga qualified for the Top 16 by downing visiting Asseco Arka Gdynia 91-69 on Wednesday night. The win improved Unicaja to 6-1 to remain atop Group D, while Arka suffered its first road loss of the season in dropping to 3-4. Unicaja took control of the game with a 16-0 run that bridged the first and second quarters, opened a 33-16 lead and never looked back. Axel Toupane paced Unicaja with 13 points, Aleksa Avramovic and Deon Thompson scored 12 apiece and Adam Waczynski netted 10 in victory. Devonte Upson led Arka with 15 points, while Leyton Hammonds finished with 12 in defeat.
Hammonds scored Arka's first 5 points before Kryzstof Szubarga sparked a 0-9 run to open a 9-12 lead. Toupane got Unicaja going and Carlos Suarez hit the hosts' first three-pointer to make it 22-16 after 10 minutes. Unicaja continued its charge in the second quarter, scoring the first 11 points. Toupane scored a transition layup and Frank Elegar set up a big dunk by Avramovic before a transition triple from Toupane opened a 33-16 margin. Josh Bostic and Thompson traded three-point plays before Wojciech Czerlonko hit a corner triple for the visitors. But Waczynski made a three and a put-back at the other end as Unicaja kept the margin in double figures and went into halftime up 46-31. Bostic hit a triple to cut the margin to 48-36, but Waczynski and Adams knocked down three-pointers for the hosts, helping extend the difference to 60-39. Upson scored 7 points and Bartlomiej Woloszyn made one from long range to get the visitors going, but they did not get closer than 62-49 in the last minute of the third quarter. The hosts held Arka without a field goal for more than 3 minutes in the fourth with a triple-plus-foul from Alberto Diaz breaking the 20-point margin in a 10-0 run. The margin reached 30 points late in the game as the hosts cruised.
Top 16 bound
Unicaja is the first team to reach the Top 16 from Group D. Ahead of this round Unicaja knew it needed to win and get help and it got it with Buducnost VOLI Podgorica winning in Trento.
Unicaja in balance
Each Unicaja player who played at least 60 seconds in this game scored 4 or more points. In addition to double-digit scorers, four players (Josh Adams, Ruben Guerrero, Carlos Suarez and Volodymyr Gerun) scored 7 points, while Melvin Ejim and Alberto Diaz each had 6.
Threes come too late
Arka finished the game shooting 10-for-25 from long range, but 5 of those triples came in the final 7 minutes of the game when the visitors were already down by 23 points.
In Round 8 next week Unicaja will travel to face Galatasaray Doga Sigorta Istanbul (4-3) knowing a win would edge it closer to clinching first place in the group. Arka will be in search of its first home win when it hosts Buducnost.
Wednesday, November 13, 2019