A solid, patient Unicaja, which almost always had the initiative on the scoreboard and in the game, had to wait until the last minute to finish off a Baskonia that after being 18 down, 50-68, found Markus Howard in the last 7 minuteswho went into a trance, put them in all colors and was about to cause a comeback that ended in just a scare.
This time neither Vitoria nor Baskonia were elusive for Unicaja. It is true that there was a breeding ground prior to the game that invited optimism, but the team must be applauded for knowing how to play with their rival’s anxiety. Perhaps the team lacked some calm with the match under control and also a little fang to cause even more bloodshed, but the objective was to win… and it was won.
3-3 in the standings
The 84-93 today allows Unicaja to rejoin the classification in the play off zone while waiting for the next few days, when the calendar softens, climb even higher to be in the slipstream of the best. After Joventut and Hungarian Falco, Unicaja was looking to close its particular “fantastic week” in Vitoria. It wasn’t 40 minutes to frame, but the team did more than enough merits to achieve a very prestigious victory on a track where there will be few ACB teams that come out “alive.” Time to time.
Two proper names for this victory. The entire team was at a good level. But Carter, in the third quarter and Kam Taylor, in those critical minutes in which Markus Howard blew up the game, were the two guides in attack that prevented the rival from dreaming of a comeback. What a great game from both of them. Outstanding.
It took 40 minutes to draw many positive conclusions from the team. Unicaja smelled blood and pressed in a start in which they were 0-9 in favor in the blink of an eye. Osetkowski was the main executor of a quite exciting staging of the greens. McIntyre was the first to find a way through the box defense and the one who kept his team in the first 10 minutes that left the score at 19-25.
Chima Moneke was Baskonia’s savior in the second quarter. Unicaja went 10 down, 23-33, but then Sima’s former teammates in Manresa appeared to support their team with 7 points in a row, 35-35.
Several bad decisions in attack, without moving the ball well and taking shots that were not relevant, were taken advantage of by the rival to go 3, Baskonia’s maximum advantage in the entire game (43-40), with less than a minute and a half to go. Rest. Ibon Navarro called for a time-out to reset his ideas and let out the odd shout. It was enough for the score to remain at maximum balance in the 20th minute, 44-44.
Carter, unstoppable and Taylor, finisher
Unicaja pressed the accelerator on the return. Carter did a lot of damage to a Baskonia with few ideas in attack. Peñarroya stopped the game at 50-59. The rival’s disconnection became even more. Kameron Taylor’s best minutes propelled the team on the scoreboard, 50-68, although Carter was the main protagonist with his triples. The murmur in the Buesa was in crescendo. The match reached minute 30 with 60-73. 13 up.
Peñarroya opted for Markus Howard as a point guard as their last hope. And the American responded. He made a 3 + 1 and a triple in half a minute to start his exhibition and Baskonia got very close, 71-77. El Buesa began to believe it. The match became a Howard-Unicaja. The American put everything in and the difference remained at 4, 76-80. Another impossible triple from the guard made it 83-84. Kameron Taylor was cool-headed to make a frontal triple that gave Unicaja air, to finish ahead, 84-93.
Le Mans, next
With almost no time to digest what happened in Vitoria, Unicaja is now focusing on this Tuesday’s match at the Martín Carpena against Le Mans in France. At stake, the leadership of Group A of the Basketball Champion League. It will be a match in which we will have to fight against the rival and also with fatigue. But nothing happens, there is plenty of staff.