Unicaja hits 16 threes in home win
Unicaja Malaga took a decisive step towards the 7DAYS EuroCup Top 16 by downing Mornar Bar 98-72 at Martin Carpena on Wednesday. Unicaja improved to 5-2 in the standings while Mornar dropped to 3-4. Axel Bouteille and Dario Brizuela led the winners with 16 points apiece. Francis Alonso added 14 for Unicaja. Marko Jeremic led Mornar with 15 points, Nemanja Vranjes added 14 and Taylor Smith 10 for the guests. Mornar registered a 10-point win against Unicaja in Round 2, 90-80. That means that Unicaja would have the tie-break advantage if both teams have the same record at the end of the regular season.
Alonso and Alberto Diaz each struck from downtown in an 8-1 opening run that Deon Thompson capped with a layup. Vranjes buried a three-pointer, but so did Bouteille, Alonso and Thompson to make it a double-digit lead, 17-6. Bouteille hit a jump hook and Volodymyr Gerun added a put-back layup that caused Mornar to call timeout at 21-6. Smith dunked twice, Vranjes sank his second triple and Jacob Pullen gave the guests hope at 25-16. A layup by Brizuela fixed the score at 27-16 after 10 minutes. Jeremic hit a three-pointer to bring Mornar within 28-20 early in the second quarter. Brizuela bettered Pullen's coast-to-coast layup with a three-point play. Alonso and Adam Waczynski each buried one from beyond the arc for a 38-25 Unicaja lead. Aleksandar Lazic hit a floater that a red-hot Alonso improved on with his fourth triple. Yannick Nzosa and Uros Lukovic exchanged layups and Vranjes brought Mornar closer, 44-32. Carlos Suarez buried a couple of three-pointers and got help from Bouteille and Alonso to boost Unicaja's lead to 54-34 at halftime.
Thompson and Bouteille each struck from downtown immediately after the break to increase the margin to 60-37. Smith hit a jump hook and Isaiah Whitehead scored twice in penetration, but Brizuela and a red-hot Bouteille answered. Diaz hit a close jumper, which Jeremic improved on with a three-pointer. Smith and Kenny Gabriel brought the visitors a bit closer, 75-52, after 30 minutes. Brizuela scored around the basket early in the fourth quarter and Tim Abromaitis added a triple that sealed the outcome, 80-54. Vranjes answered from downtown, but Unicaja didn't slow down as Waczynski and Brizuela restored a 90-64 lead. Little changed in the final 4 minutes as Unicaja coasted to victory.
Axel Bouteille was a strong choice for Unicaja throughout the game as he showcased his all-around scoring skills. He finished the game with 16 points on 5-of-8 two-point shooting and 2-of-3 on three-pointers plus 2 rebounds and 3 assists for a PIR of 17.
Unicaja opened the game with a rain of three-pointers. Francis Alonso buried 2, then Alberto Diaz, Axel Bouteille and Deon Thompson each hit one in a 21-6 run that Gerun capped with a put-back basket. That allowed Unicaja to get full control of the game and the hosts never looked back.
Unicaja made the difference in a stellar first half in which the powerhouse buried 10 of 13 shots from downtown and outrebounded Mornar 18-3. It also got 14 assists, while limiting Mornar to 7. The PIR difference, 62-31, said it all.
Did you know?
Unicaja downed 16 of 25 three-point shots to set a club record for best shooting percentage from downtown (64%). Its previous record was 53.8% when it hit 15 of 28 threes in a home win against ALBA Berlin on February 1, 2017.
Both teams return to 7DAYS EuroCup action on Wednesday, October 18. Unicaja visits Buducnost VOLI Podgorica, while Mornar visits Germani Brescia.
Wednesday, November 11, 2020