Galatasaray Liv Hospital wins, grabs Top 16 spot
Galatasaray Liv Hospital outlasted Unicaja Malaga 78-70 Thursday at Abdi Ipekci in Istanbul to secure a ticket to the Top 16. The hosts needed Montepaschi to win in the early game to have a chance at advancing this week and that’s exactly what happened. Galatasaray improved to 5-3 in Group C, while distancing itself from Unicaja, which fell to 3-5. The game was close throughout and featured numerous runs. Unicaja led late in the third quarter and entered the fourth quarter down 2, but the hosts took charge and held on behind some big baskets from Ender Arslan and Furkan Aldemir. Carlos Arroyo paced the Galatasaray attack with 22 points and 5 assists, Arslan finished with 17 points, Malik Hairston scored 13 and Aldemir – starting in place of the suspended Pops Mensah-Bonsu – tallied 8 points and 12 rebounds.
Carlos Suarez amassed 16 points and 8 rebounds for Unicaja, Nik Caner-Medley added 14 points and Zoran Dragic scored 10 in defeat.
First quarter: A pair of runs gives hosts early advantage
Behind a raucous crowd, the hosts enjoyed an ideal start. Cenk Akyol connected from downtown, Arroyo fed Hairston for an alley-oop slam and Aldemir’s steal allowed Arroyo to sink a layup to make it 7-0. A stunned Unicaja burned its first timeout after just over two minutes. Suarez finally got the visitors going with a three from the corner. Earl Calloway buried another three and Suarez found an open Rafa Hettsheimeir in transition to cap a 0-8 response. Aldemir scored in the paint before Milan Macvan did the same for an 11-8 lead at the midway point of the quarter. Arroyo added a jumper. Sergi Vidal free throws stemmed the Galatasaray run. A pretty passing sequence finished with Macvan assisting Hairston for a slam and a 7-point lead. Fran Vazquez’s hook revived the visitors and Vladimir Stimac followed suit. Arroyo’s short jumper and Vazquez’s long one left the scoreboard at 19-16 through 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Caner-Medley, Arroyo duel leaves teams close
Suarez knotted the game with a three to start the quarter. Arroyo kept the hosts just in front, first with a basket of his own before a steal and long assist to Sinan Guler. Stimac found a way to stop Arroyo with a high-flying block. Dragic put Unicaja on top, 23-24, with a three. Guler and Caner-Medley traded baskets to keep the visitors in front midway through the quarter. Caner-Medley heated up with a three-point play and a layup on the break to boost the lead to 25-31. Aldemir threw down a monster slam to end the Caner-Medley run. Jayson Granger sank a pull-up mid-range jumper and even though Caner-Medley missed a layup on a three-on-one break, he made up for it with a much tougher basket for an 8-point advantage. Arslan sank a second-chance three to bring about cheers throughout the arena. He followed that with a basket-plus-foul. Arroyo then drained a big three to put the hosts back in front. In an exciting finish to the half, Granger put Unicaja up before Arroyo raced downcourt and secure a 40-39 Galatasaray edge.
Third quarter: Unicaja falls behind and rallies back
Hairston curled off a screen for a layup and his 10th point to start the second-half scoring. Suarez free throws and a Dragic drive kept Unicaja close. Hairston scored three points over two possessions before Arroyo led a break and set up Macvan for a slam. The playmaker’s next basket made it 51-45. Dragic responded from downtown for Unicaja. A minute later, Suarez sank his third three of the night to even the score. Suarez free throws capped a 0-8 run for a 51-53 Unicaja lead before Macvan split free throws to end Galatasaray’s three-and-a-half minute dry spell. A technical foul on the Unicaja bench allowed Arroyo to tie the score. Hairston found Macvan in the paint for a 55-53 lead for the home team at the end of the quarter.
Fourth quarter: Arslan, Aldemir sink big buckets to snare victory
Unicaja stayed close through three points from Vidal – 1 coming after a technical on the Galatasaray bench. Zoran Erceg scored a clutch basket before Arslan wrong footed the Unicaja defense for a basket-plus-foul to make it 61-56. Arroyo free throws gave him 20 personal points. Aldemir made a 9-point lead midway through the quarter. Suarez seemed to give Unicaja hope with a three-pointer, but Arslan matched him at the other end. Hettsheimeir free throws and a Caner-Medley three caused some worry among the local fans at 68-64 with two and a half minutes to go. Arslan got a lucky roll on his foul-line extended jumper; Caner-Medley answered quickly at the other end. Aldemir muscled inside for a big basket and grabbed a key defensive rebound at the other as Galatasaray looked to seal the win in the final minute. Arslan free throws made it 74-66 with 35 seconds left. Arroyo and Arslan added a combined 4 more for a 10-point lead before Hettsheimeir rounded out the scoring.
Thursday, December 5, 2013