2018-19Top 16Round 1
January 02, 2019 CET: 20:45
Local time: 20:45 PABELLON FUENTE DE SAN LUIS

Valencia downs Unicaja in 2017 Finals rematch

In a rematch of the 2017 7DAYS EuroCup Finals, Valencia Basket triumphed over Unicaja Malaga 85-74 at home on Wednesday. Valencia remained undefeated at home in the EuroCup this season. Matt Thomas and Will Thomas paced the winners with 18 points apiece, Alberto Abalde added 14 and Bojan Dubljevic had 10 for Valencia. Jaime Fernandez paced Unicaja with 13 points, Brian Roberts and Mathias Lessort each scored 12 and Sasu Salin had 11 for the visitors. Lessort also grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.

It took Kyle Wiltjer 3 seconds to score around the basket, which Lessort followed with a driving layup for a 0-4 Unicaja lead. Dubljevic stepped up for Valencia and a three-pointer by Aaron Doornekamp gave the hosts their first lead, 7-6. Dubljevic and Doornekamp kept pushing Valencia and Sam Van Rossom struck from downtown for a 14-8 lead. Fernandez took over with a three-point play that Matt Thomas erased with a triple. Matt Thomas hit a jumper and a buzzer-beating put-back layup by Mike Tobey boosted the hosts' lead to 22-13 after 10 minutes. A dunk by Abalde made it a double-digit game, 24-13, early in the second quarter. Alberto Diaz and Tobey traded triples and a tip-in by Louis Labeyrie gave Valencia a 29-16 margin. Salin and Lessort tried to change things for Unicaja and a three-pointer by Dani Diez brought the visitors within 32-28. Dubljevic and Will Thomas rescued Valencia and an outstanding Matt Thomas restored a 45-38 Valencia edge at halftime. Salin fired in one from beyond the arc after the break and followed Wiltjer's three-point play with another bomb from downtown that tied it at 47-47. Matt Thomas sank his fourth triple, igniting a 9-0 run highlighted by Will Thomas's dunk. Roberts and Giorgi Shermadini hit free throws, but Will Thomas stayed unstoppable and a three-pointer by Tobey broke the game open at 66-50. Salin, Lessort and Diez brought Unicaja within 66-58 after 30 minutes. Lessort took over with a three-point play and free throws by Fernandez capped a 0-13 run that brought Unicaja within 66-63. Abalde and Matt Thomas made free throws and a jump hook by Will Thomas boosted Valencia's lead to 72-63 with 7 minutes left. Unicaja struggled to score when it mattered most and a tip-in by Abalde allowed Valencia to seal the outcome in style.

Pivotal performer

Will Thomas provided the intensity, experience and resilience needed to beat his former team. He finished the game with 18 points on 8 of 13 two-point shooting, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 4 fouls drawn for a PIR of 23.

Game-changing moment

Unicaja tied the game at 47-47 early in the second half. Will Thomas and Alberto Abalde combined for 11 points in a mammoth 19-3 run, which Mike Tobey capped with a three-pointer, giving Valencia a 66-50 lead. Unicaja got closer, but expended all of its energy too early.

Stellar stat

Valencia outrebounded Unicaja 45-37, including 20 offensive boards. Its best mark before this game was 13 offensive rebounds against Partizan NIS Belgrade. Valencia also took excellent care of the ball, finishing the game with 20 assists and just 7 turnovers. Unicaja had 14 assists and 14 turnovers.

Did you notice?

Valencia won its sixth consecutive home game in EuroCup action. It won 15 of its last 16 showdowns at Pabellon Fuente de San Luis. Its only EuroCup home loss since October 16 came in Game 3 of the 2017 EuroCup Finals against Unicaja.

Next game

Both teams return to 7DAYS EuroCup action next week. Unicaja hosts Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on Tuesday as Lessort faces his former team for the first time. On Wednesday, Valencia visits Limoges CSP.

Matt Thomas - Valencia Basket (photo Valencia) - EC18
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Eurocupbasketball.com
Referees: KOROMILAS, ELIAS; PETEK, SASO; ISGUDER, SINAN
Attendance: 7108
By Quarter1234
Valencia Basket22232119
Unicaja Malaga13252016
End of Quarter1234
Valencia Basket22456685
Unicaja Malaga13385874
Valencia Basket
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
6 ABALDE, ALBERTO 22:54 14 4/7 1/3 3/3 4 3 7 3 2       1 4 24
7 LABEYRIE, LOUIS 12:26 3 1/2 0/2 1/2 3   3 1   1     3 3 2
8 DIOT, ANTOINE DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
9 VAN ROSSOM, SAM 26:02 5 1/2 1/4     4 4 6 1 1 1   3 1 10
10 THOMAS, WILL 28:11 18 8/13 0/1 2/2 1 3 4 2 2   1 1 1 4 23
13 TOBEY, MIKE 15:19 8 1/4 2/2   3 6 9 1   1 2   2   14
14 DUBLJEVIC, BOJAN 24:04 10 4/8 0/1 2/2 4 3 7 4 2     1 1 3 19
16 VIVES, GUILLEM 15:36   0/1 0/4     1 1 2   1 1       -2
17 MARTINEZ, RAFA 8:13     0/2     1 1   1 1     3   -4
21 THOMAS, MATT 27:19 18 2/4 4/9 2/2 1   1 1 1       1 2 15
30 SASTRE, JOAN 2:50                   1     1   -2
42 DOORNEKAMP, AARON 17:06 9 3/4 1/5   4 3 7     1     4 2 8
Team             1 1               1
Totals 200:00 85 24/45 9/33 10/11 20 25 45 20 9 7 5 2 20 19 108
        53.3% 27.3% 90.9%
Head coach: PONSARNAU, JAUME
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Unicaja Malaga
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
2 OKOUO, VINY DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3 FERNANDEZ, JAIME 22:57 13 3/6 1/2 4/5       2   1     1 5 13
7 STILMA, MORGAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
9 DIAZ, ALBERTO 5:14 3   1/2                   1 1 2
10 SALIN, SASU 20:24 11 0/2 3/5 2/2 1 2 3     1   1 2 2 8
11 DIEZ, DANIEL 20:49 6   2/6   3 2 5 3         1   9
12 MILOSAVLJEVIC, DRAGAN 22:12 2 0/2 0/3 2/2 3   3     2     4 1 -5
17 SHERMADINI, GIORGI 15:59 5 1/3   3/4 1 2 3     2   1 1 2 3
21 WACZYNSKI, ADAM 22:33 3 0/1 1/2     3 3 1   2     2 1 2
22 ROBERTS, BRIAN 26:40 12 2/5 2/4 2/2   1 1 6 1 3   2 1 3 12
26 LESSORT, MATHIAS 24:01 12 5/7   2/3 2 8 10 1 1 2 1   4 3 19
33 WILTJER, KYLE 19:11 7 2/6 0/3 3/3 1 4 5 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 6
Team           2 2 4               4
Totals 200:00 74 13/32 10/27 18/21 13 24 37 14 3 14 2 5 19 20 73
        40.6% 37% 85.7%
Head coach: CASIMIRO, LUIS

Head Coaches

PONSARNAU, JAUME
Valencia Basket
"It was a very competitive game, with a lot of energy between two teams that want to run and play hard. We took the initiative in the first quarter and that gave us confidence. We had some difficulties in the fourth quarter when they raised their level, but even with that, we found the way to be stable and find our own good feelings by running the floor. That allowed us to win the game. A lot of things changed since we played against Unicaja at home in a different competition earlier this season. We played at home and felt really comfortable tonight. There was a moment in which Unicaja tied the game and could have been a delicate one, but our fans knew what they had to do and helped us a lot. We played well with the help of our fans and this is one of the goals we had. We hope to keep showing day by day that we want to play well with their help."
CASIMIRO, LUIS
Unicaja Malaga
"I will make a short statement because the key was that Valencia took many more shots than we did. They had 20 offensive rebounds and a lot less turnovers allowed him to get more shots. That [allowed] them to dominate the game. They were not effective from beyond the three-point line, which is something they were doing really well lately, but the greater number of possessions made us lose the game. Every player missing is important for us, and Alberto [Diaz, who was hurt early in the game] was missed a lot when he got injured earlier in the season. We also missed him today and his absence was critical. Even though we didn't dominate the boards, we had options. We had good moments and played well in general, but we didn't match their physical level, especially on rebounds."

Players

TOBEY, MIKE
Valencia Basket
"I think it was a good game for us. It was important game to come out, start the EuroCup Top 16 and get a win against a tough team like Unicaja. The fans were great today and gave us the energy we needed."
ABALDE, ALBERTO
Valencia Basket
"I think we played a really good game. We played with big intensity at home, which is what we needed to beat an important team like Unicaja. It is an important win for us and we have to keep working like this."
LESSORT, MATHIAS
Unicaja Malaga
"It was a tough game tonight. We struggled a lot against their effort. The key tonight was offensive rebounds, they killed us, and there was a big difference in turnovers. In this condition, it is really hard to win, especially on the road."