Unicaja rallies past Buducnost
Unicaja Malaga came back from 16 points down to beat Buducnost VOLI Podgorica 91-87 at home on Wednesday. Francis Alonso scored 21 points, Axel Bouteille had 17 points and Adam Waczynski tallied 12 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter as Unicaja improved to 2-1 in Group B. Dario Brizuela added 12 points, Deon Thompson chipped in 10 points and Alberto Diaz dished out 11 assists in the win. After being down 24-40 in the second quarter and coming back, Unicaja has now won its last 10 EuroCup games on its home court. Buducnost dropped its first game in the group despite Nikola Ivanovic pouring in 21 points. Justin Cobbs had 14 points and 11 assists and Danilo Nikolic and Dragan Apic each added 11 points.
It was raining three-pointers early in Malaga from both sides. Nikolic and Petar Popovic hit for Buducnost for a 4-10 lead. Alonso drained a pair of threes and Bouteille also made a triple to make it 13-10. Melvin Ejim and Cobbs responded with threes - making it 7 straight triples in the game until Popovic and Apic converted three-point plays for a 13-22 Buducnost advantage, which was 15-22 after 10 minutes. Teenager Fedor Zugic came up with a block and layup to increase the margin to 15-26 early in the second quarter. Unicaja responded with 7 straight points, but Nikolic tallied 7 points to spark a 2-14 surge that put Buducnost up 24-40. Unicaja used the long ball to get closer with Alonso draining two more triples and Diaz also hitting a three-pointer to trim the gap to 37-45. The score was 37-47 at the break.
Alonso continued his great game after the intermission with 2 more three-pointers to get Unicaja within 46-49. The cushion was back to 8 points after Suad Sehovic’s three-pointer. Unicaja would not make it easy with Brizuela and Thompson both tallying 4 points and Buducnost led just 60-62 after 30 minutes. Unicaja’s comeback was complete with Brizuela’s three-pointer to make it 67-66. Ivanovic drained a triple at the other end to move Buducnost up 67-71. Unicaja would not go away with Bouteille hitting from long range and Waczynski converting a four-point play for an 80-73 lead. Ivanovic tried to get Buducnost back into the game, but Waczynski hit twice from downtown and Brizuela also hit from the outside to put Unicaja up 89-83 with less than 2 minutes to play. Buducnost had one more push with Sehovic hitting 2 three-pointers to pull within 89-87. But Yannick Nzosa threw down a dunk with 15 seconds left to decide the game.
Still undefeated against Buducnost
Unicaja had to pull a rabbit out of its hat, but the magic against Buducnost continues to work, having won the last six meetings with the Montenegrin side. The two teams faced off in the EuroCup in the 2016-17 and 2019-20 seasons as well as the 2002-03 EuroLeague.
While Francis Alonso hit 6 three-pointers to pull even with Kyle Fogg for the most triples in a EuroCup game by a Unicaja player, the biggest impact late came from Adam Waczynski. The Polish sharpshooter hit 3 three-pointers in the final 10 minutes to finally carry Unicaja over the hump.
Unicaja grabbed 10 offensive rebounds to just 2 for Buducnost while the Montenegrin champs dug their own grave with 16 turnovers.
Unicaja will remain at home for Round 4 as it welcomes Germani Brescia on Wednesday, October 21. Buducnost will also have a home game in Round 4 when it hosts ratiopharm Ulm the same day.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020