Galatasaray comes back for big win over Unicaja
Galatasaray Doga Sigorta Istanbul took a major step towards the Top 16 with a 91-80 come-from-behind victory at home over Unicaja Malaga. Galatasaray did not allow a single basket in the third quarter in improving to 5-3 in Group D. Greg Whittington scored 18 points to lead five Galatasaray scorers in double figures. Aaron Harrison collected 16 points, Lazeric Jones had 13, Tai Webster added 11 points and 5 assists and Ege Arar chipped in 10 points for Galatasaray, which will qualify for the next phase if Buducnost VOLI Podgorica beats Asseco Arka Gdynia on Wednesday. Unicaja, which came into the game having already secured a spot in the Top 16, fell to 6-2. Adam Waczynski matched his career-high with 17 points - 15 of them in the fourth quarter - while Josh Adams had 16 points.
In a matchup of former EuroCup champions, Galatasaray had the better start with Jones picking up a three-pointer and Ben Moore scoring 4 points for a 9-5 lead. But the hosts were held scoreless for 5 minutes while Axel Toupane and Adams combined for 11 points in an 0-17 run to put Unicaja up 9-22. Galatasaray managed to stop the rut, but trailed 12-24 after 10 minutes. After Jaime Fernandez’s score upped the lead to 12-26 to start the second quarter, Galatasaray trimmed the deficit to 18-28. Unicaja punched back with a 2-8 surge in making it 22-38. Arar came up with three baskets and a block to spark a 12-0 run, including a pair of Yigit Arslan triples to pull Galatasaray within 34-38. The score was 34-39 at the break. Galatasaray came out of the locker room playing tough defense and allowed just 2 free throws, while Arar and Arslan continued their good games and Harrison finally scored his first points on a three-pointer in an 11-2 run for a 45-41 lead halfway through the third quarter. Harrison and Whittington both nailed three-pointers as the hosts tallied 12 straight points and the lead swelled to 57-43. One more long ball from both Whittington and Harrison had Galatasaray up 67-47 after 30 minutes with Unicaja not hitting a single basket - just 8 free throws in the quarter. Moore’s basket to start the final frame increased the lead to 22 points, but Unicaja raced back thanks to the three-point shot. Fernandez’s three-pointer was followed by 3 straight triples from Waczynski, who also added 3 free throws for 12 points within 1:35 minutes. An Aleksa Avramovic tally trimmed the deficit to 75-68 with 5 minutes left. Harrison nailed a big triple to get the gap to 81-70 only to see Waczynski add more free throws at the other end. But Jones answered with two baskets to help the hosts hold on.
Tough D on Unicaja’s big guns
Axel Toupane came into the game as Unicaja’s top scorer at 13.0 points per game, but he was held to 9 points on 3-of-11 shooting. Deon Thompson, who had averaged 11.0 points, tallied just 6 points on 2-of-4 shooting.
Aaron Harrison did not score in the first half but finished with 16 points. Still, the Galatasaray guard was there for his team the whole game, finishing with 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steals and 1 block.
Galatasaray made 79.4 percent of its two-point shots in the game and 10 of 12 free throws (83.3%). The hosts also committed only 12 turnovers - including just 5 after the first quarter. The hosts also held Unicaja to just 45.5% shooting from two-point range.
Unicaja will host EWE Baskets Oldenburg on Tuesday, December 10. The following evening, Galatasaray will be in Montenegro to face Buducnost VOLI Podgorica.
Tuesday, November 19, 2019