Unicaja rallies past Bayern for decisive win
In a decisive showdown that went down to the final minute, Unicaja Malaga improved to 4-5 in Group C by topping Bayern Munich 77-72 in front of 8,900 fans at Martin Carpena Arena on Thursday. Unicaja will advance to the Top 16 if it beats Montepaschi Siena next week but could also go through with a loss. Bayern dropped to 3-6, but retains chances to reach the Top 16. Nik Caner-Medley paced the winners with 17 points. Rafa Hettsheimeir added 13 while Fran Vazquez had 12 and 8 rebounds for Unicaja. Malcolm Delaney led Bayern with 14 points and 7 assists. Bryce Taylor added 13 while Deon Thompson had 12 and 8 rebounds for the guests. Vazquez and Caner-Medley led Unicaja to a 29-20 lead after 10 minutes. Unicaja still led 43-37 at halftime, but a 0-9 run allowed Bayern to take a 53-56 edge midway through the third quarter. Bayern extended the margin to 62-70 with six minutes left. Jayson Granger, Caner-Medley and Mindaugas Kuzmisnkas fueled a final 15-2 run which Vazquez capped with a wild alley-oop slam that allowed Unicaja to seal a critical win in style.
First quarter: Caner-Medley, Vazquez lead Unicaja
Nihad Djedovic got Bayern going with a six-meter jumper, but Hettsheimeir answered from downtown for a 3-2 Unicaja lead. Sergi Vidal ignited the crowd with a coast-to-coast layup that Taylor bettered with a three-pointer that tied it at 5-5. Hettsheimeir kept pacing Unicaja with a mid-range jumper and free throws by Earl Calloway gave the hosts a 9-5 edge. John Bryant scored down low, Caner-Medley nailed a corner triple and back-to-back baskets by Chevon Troutman kept Bayern within 12-11. Caner-Medley shined with an off-balance basket and traded triples with Taylor to keep Unicaja ahead, 17-14. Taylor insisted from downtown, but Vidal matched that with a layup-plus-foul. Caner-Medley split free throws and soon added a power layup. Unicaja improved its defense off a timeout. Vazquez made foul shots and matched Robin Benzing's close basket with a tip-in, good for a 27-19 Unicaja lead. A free throw by Boris Savovic and a buzzer-beating tip-in by Vazquez fixed the score at 29-20 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Delaney keeps Bayern in the game
An unstoppable Vazquez dunked early in the second quarter. Lucca Staiger stepped up with a six-meter jumper and a driving layup to get Bayern a bit closer, 31-24. Malcolm Delaney made free throws - his first points - but Hettsheimeir took over with a slam and followed it with a backdoor layup for a 35-36 Unicaja lead. Delaney made free throws and added a three-pointer. Hettsheimeir singlehandedly kept Unicaja way ahead, 39-31. Bryant scored around the basket, as Bayern started to lock the defensive board without him on court. Unicaja tried a more athletic frontcourt with Vazquez and Caner-Medley together on court. The hosts kept missing open shots, however, and Delaney made it a 4-point game. Djedovic took over with a reverse layup which capped a 0-6 run. Carlos Suarez rescued Unicaja with a three-pointer and a free throw by Calloway gave the hosts a 43-37 edge at halftime.
Third quarter: Thompson leads the guests in front
Caner-Medley scored after the break, but Savovic answered from downtown to close within 45-40. Deon After Thompson nailed a five-meter jumper, Granger banked in a close shot and added a driving layup to restore a 49-42 Unicaja lead. Delaney nailed a big triple in transition and Thompson matched Caner-Medley's free throws with a close basket. Vladimir Stimac scored around the basket, but Thompson sank a long two-pointer and Taylor dunked to get Bayern within 53-51. A put-back basket by Thompson tied it at 53-53. Unicaja kept struggling to score and a three-point play by Troutman completed Bayern's comeback, 53-56, after a 0-9 run. Stimac stepped up with a layup, but Bayern kept powering the offensive glass. Heiko Schaffartzik finished a two-chance Bayern possession with a jumper and a big basket by Benzing boosted the guests' lead to 55-60. A free throw by Txemi Urtasun kept Unicaja within 56-60 after 30 minutes.
Fourth quarter: What a wild finish!
Yassin Ibdihi scored down low early in the fourth quarter and a layup by Thompson made it an 8-point game. Calloway tried to ignite Unicaja's comeback with a triple, but a layup by Delaney gave Bayern a 59-66 edge. Troutman soon added a fast break layup that forced Unicaja to stop the game at 59-68. Mindaugas Kuzminskas struck from downtown, as Unicaja switched to a zone defense. Thompson punished it with a turnaround jumper, but Vidal did better with a triple and a layup by Granger brought Unicaja back to life, 67-70. Vazquez shined with a tip-in and a diving steal by Granger allowed Caner-Medley to put Unicaja back ahead, 71-70. Thompson scored again and a layup by Granger provided another lead change, 73-72, with over two minutes left. Kuzminskas took over with a two-handed slam, Delaney missed from downtown and an alley-oop slam by Vazquez sealed the outcome, 77-72. Bayern never recovered, as the Unicaja fans celebrated a critical win!
Thursday, December 12, 2013