Toolson’s last-second triple lifts Unicaja over Efes
Ryan Toolson hit a tough three-pointer with 0.8 seconds to go as Unicaja Malaga edged Anadolu Efes Istanbul 93-90 on Friday night in Malaga. The hosts led for the first 38 minutes of the game, and had a 14-point third quarter lead, but Thomas Heurtel rallied Efes to its only lead, 82-83, before hitting a three-pointer with 5.8 second to tie the game at 90-90. However, in the remaining time, Toolson knocked down a triple that kept Unicaja’s season alive, improving it to 2-7 and putting it in sixth place in Group F, while Efes dropped to 4-5 in a share of fourth place. Toolson finished with 25 points, while Jon Stefansson scored 15 in victory. Mindaugas Kuzminskas added 13 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists and Jayson Granger netted 10 points with 5 assists for Unicaja. Heurtel scored 20 of his 23 points in the second half, to lead Efes. Nenad Krsitc collected 14 points and 9 rebounds, while Dario Saric and Furkan Korkmaz each scored 10 in defeat.
First quarter: Unicaja hits triples to take control
Stefansson started the scoring with back-to-back triples for a 6-0 lead. Dontaye Draper answered with a jumper and a driving layup, but Kuzminskas nailed another triple for Unicaja to lead 9-4. Saric and Vladimir Golubovic traded baskets inside, and Kuzminskas banked in a shot to make it 13-6. Draper answered with a step-back jumper, but after a timeout, a short jumper from Golubovic made it 15-8. Saric fought for an Efes put-back, blocked a shot then fed Krstic for a jumper. Unicaja remained in front after 4 free throws from Toolson, before Korkmaz and Granger traded triples for 22-15 margin after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Unicaja’s offense pushes margin to double figures
Unicaja extended it with Fran Vazquez banking in a long jumper, but Korkmaz scored a floater. After Granger drove for a layup, Korkmaz nailed a corner triple to cut to 26-21. But Toolson answered with a four-point play, and after a timeout, he buried another one from way downtown to lead 33-22. Milko Bjelica sank both free throws before Granger drove for a layup-plus-foul. Krstic had a three-point play on the other end for, but German Gabriel hit Unicaja’s seventh three for a 39-27 advantage. Bjelica scored a layup, before Matt Janning and Krstic raced for consecutive fastbreak layups. Kuzminskas scored an easy basket to make it 41-33, then pushed the margin back to double digits with a pair of free throws. Stephane Lasme and Korkmaz hit baseline jumpers for Efes, but Stefan Markovic fed Will Thomas with a bounce pass. Heurtel buried a three that cut the deficit to 6 points, but Gabriel knocked down a wide-open shot from downtown and Kuzminskas made a tip-in to make it 52-40 at halftime.
Third quarter: Heurtel rallies Efes
Krstic made both free throws to open the second half, but a three-point play from Golubovic and a short jumper from Stefansson extended it to 57-43. Janning assisted Lasme for a layup, then drove for a runner-plus-foul. Krstic’s dunk, assisted by Heurtel, cut it to 57-51. Granger snapped a 0-8 run with free throws, and Toolson’s jumper made it a 10-point game, again. Heurtel sank a floater, then followed it with a pair of jumpers, both with his toes touching a three-point arc. After Kuzminskas made a floater, Heurtel sank a three-pointer – his ninth consecutive point – to make it 63-60 at the end of the quarter.
Fourth quarter: Unicaja wins it on Toolson’s triple
The teams went basket for basket in the quarter. Toolson scored in a crowd, but Saric drove the baseline for a layup. Toolson scored from close range again, but Lasme answered with a dunk, 67-64. After Stefansson and Cedi Osman traded baskets, Heurtel assisted Lasme for an easy layup to get within 1. Toolson was fouled shooting a triple, and made all 3 free throws, but Heurtel hit a couple of runners, and Draper knocked down a three-pointer to make it 76-75 midway through the quarter. Thomas gave Unicaja breathing room with a layup and a basket-plus-free throw with four minutes to go. Krstic had a put-back, and Efes made couple defensive stands before Stratos Pereperoglou’s free throws – his first point of the game – closed the gap to 81-79. A floater from Heurtel gave Efes its first lead of the game, 82-83 with 2:02 on the clock. Efes did not score on the next two possessions, while Stefansson made 4 free throws to put Unicaja back in front. A baseline jumper from Saric, with his toes on the three-point line, cut it to 86-85, and Saric had a chance to put the visitors in front on the ensuing possession, but he missed from close range. Gabriel and Heurtel traded foul shots, and Toolson scored a pair for a 90-87 lead with 9.9 to go. After a timeout, Heurtel nailed a triple to tie it with 5.8 seconds remaining, but after another a timeout, there was plenty of time for Toolson to hit a game-winner with Saric’s hand in his face.
Friday, March 6, 2015