Saturday, December 9, 2023

Unicaja starts the BCL in Hungary with a firm step: 78-87

A rather serious last quarter, after 30 irregular minutes, served Unicaja in Hungary this Wednesday to certify a continental victory with a spade. It wasn’t after a brilliant game, but that doesn’t matter. The important thing was to add in a BCL premiere in which we had to win… and we won.

The victory in Szombathely means taking a very important step forward towards Unicaja’s only objective in this first group: finishing as group champion just a few days before Christmas Eve, when this first phase closes. There are only six days and when your goal is the maximum, there is almost no option for error. That’s why this 1-0 in the standings tastes like glory

Alberto defends a shot from Benke. BCL

Home demand

Winning away from home in Europe is never easy. In this match I think it was clear. That’s why the team’s 78-87 victory in Szombathely has merit. Regardless of whether the rival has more or less pedigree, an away win must always be valued. The Hungarians also gave a good image, they showed that they are going to be competitive on their track and that if Le Mans and Peristeri, the other two “partners” of this group, want to win there, they will have to play at a good level. But...

Ibon said in the preview of this match that the key was to be focused from the first quarter and from then on to mature the opponent. It complied with the recipe in the first 10 minutes, but it lost its initial superiority in the next two quarters and only reappeared in the 10 minutes of truth, in which Unicaja did demonstrate its greatest talent and its greatest wardrobe. to arrive fresher than his rival in legs and ideas.

Perry was punished for fouls. BCL

In the hours before the game the proper name was Mario Saint-Supéry. The youth player, still unprecedented in the League, started at the Savaria Arena. He played 7:18 minutes, made two fouls and did not appear on the court again. He has to get into a dynamic mood and I hope that next Tuesday, against Le Mans, he will play again, add more minutes and have a greater role.

Balanced match

The first quarter was electric. The two teams played to run and score, leaving the defense for another time. The success percentages were very good and the score was growing, always at the pace set by the greens: 7-12, 9-15, 21-26… At the end of the first quarter, 26-30. Good performance by Ibon Navarro’s team, who moved the bench a lot against an opponent who did not give up and in which Benke was the biggest nightmare for the greens.

A little basket from three meters typical of Kravish caused the +8 (26-34) for Unicaja and the timeout for Falco Szombathely. The dynamics did not change after the break. On the contrary, Unicaja pushed back, now, and continued to put an infernal pace in their transitions that shot up the lead on the scoreboard, 26-38.

Kameron Taylor tries to penetrate. BCL

The Hungarians then tried to change the “tempo” by taking refuge in a zone defense. The bet turned out perfectly. From that moment on, Unicaja had a hard time finding good shooting positions and Falco reduced the advantage point by point and minute by minute. At halftime, 41-43. Everything very balanced after 20 minutes of lights and shadows and with a devastating statistical data: 21 free throws for them and only 2 in favor of Unicaja in those first 20 minutes...

The third quarter became a back-and-forth, with baskets exchanged and with Vulcano even with minimal gains in their favor. The party did not have a clear owner. Ibon moved and moved the bench in search of finding a 5 on the court that was solvent in the front and aggressive in the back. The team played in fits and starts and at least managed to reach the 30th minute again with an advantage on the scoreboard, 62-66.

final sentence

Unicaja entered the final quarter very serious and determined to end the debate on the hardwood. The greens were 9 behind, with less than 8 minutes left (65-74). It was the beginning of the sentence. Falco, very tired, could no longer respond to that last hug from a Unicaja that had a more comfortable end to the game than the first 30 minutes suggested. In the end, 78-87. The first “eurovictory” is already in the bag.

Sima was one of the best in Hungary. BCL

Vitoria, next station

After the European premiere, this does not stop and Unicaja is now focusing on the weekend duel on the Baskonia court. A very tough match in Vitoria in which the team will have to play at a very high level if they want to close a week that could be triumphant. So far, two victories against Joventut and Falco Vulcano Szombathely. Will the third come at the Buesa Arena?…


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