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22.11.2008 21:16

Unicaja dominate (82-71)

Verònica Díez

Regal Barça have lost away at Unicaja by 82-71. The Catalans were unable to overcome tough opponents and went down to their third ACB defeat. However, they still remain in the top part of the table.

Xavi Pascual’s men were unable to beat a Unicaja team that was impeccable in almost aspects of the game. The home side, with Haislip, Welsch and Ndong outstanding, controlled play throughout the match. Though Barça did manage to get into the lead in the second quarter, in the end a combination of a passionate home crowd and a fine performance by the team coached by Aíto García Reneses in his 850th ACB game were enough to overcome the Catalans.

Great start from Unicaja

Unicaja came out all guns blazing at the start of the first quarter. Great defence combined with rapid counterattacks knocked Barça off its stride, and the Catalans were also unlucky under the basket. The home side, with Haislip leading the attack, pulled away and with just a few seconds to go before the break N'dong made it 21 to 6 for the Malaga outfit, the biggest gap in the first quarter.

Barça comeback

basquet_unicaja_2.JPGThe second quarter saw a very different Regal Barça. More aggressive in defence, more forceful in attack and with Andersen in superb form, the Catalans managed to turn the game around. Seven points on the bounce from the Aussie (previously he’d only scored one from the free throw line) in the second minute of the second quarter brought Barça right back into the game (23-21).

Three minutes later free throws by Lakovic put Barça ahead for the first time (26-28). But Unicaja continued with aggressive defence, and with Haislip orchestrating the offence went into the halftime break up by four (36-32).

Same story

The third quarter was virtually a carbon copy of the first. The Malaga outfit came out on a roll and soon established a lead that varied between seven and ten points. In the fifth minute after the break, Kelati made it 51 to 34. Fine shooting by Navarro and Basile kept Barça in the game, however, and the Italian brought the score back to 56 to 52. However, the home side were still up by 61 to 56 at the end of the quarter.

Game decided

Although Regal Barça never threw in the towel, they were unable to turn the game around and Unicaja used the fourth quarter to decide a match which they had controlled for just about all of its forty minutes. Neither Andersen nor Navarro nor Lakovic – the Catalans’ MVP – were able to counteract N’Dong and Welsch. The home side held onto their lead throughout the final quarter to run out winners 82 to 71.
Unicaja dominate (82-71)

Unicaja de Màlaga (21+15+25+21): Cook (3), Kelati (10), Welsch (18), Haislip (17), Archibald (6) – starting five - Gomis (6), Cortaberría (-), N'Dong (17), Jiménez (5)

Regal FC Barcelona (10+22+24+15): Barrett (2), Navarro (17), Barton (-), Ilyasova (-) Santiago (4) - starting five - Basile (9), Lakovic (12), Andersen (16), Vázquez (6), Grimau (5).

Referees: Arteaga, Guirao and Jiménez

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