Zalgiris downs Unicaja in nail-biter 22
In a game that went down to the wire, Edgaras Ulanovas came up with a last-second block of Ray McCallum and Zalgiris Kaunas prevailed 79-77 over the visiting Unicaja Malaga on Friday. The victory lifted Zalgiris to an 11-6 record and a share of fourth place, while Unicaja dropped to 7-10 in the standings.
Unicaja led for most of the first half, but Zalgiris made a charge in the second and went in front, but could not put the game away. The visitors had the last possession, with a chance to either tie or go in front, but Ulanovas denied Ray McCallum at the rim to start celebrations in Zalgirio Arena.
Kevin Pangos paced Zalgiris with 16 points, and Paulius Jankunas collected 14 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals. Aaron White and Ulanovas each scored 11 points in victory, while Vasilije Micic dished 9 assists. Adam Waczynski netted 14 points for Unicaja. James Augustine added 12 points and 9 rebounds, Nemanja Nedovic scored 11 with 9 assists, and Daniel Diez added 10 points in defeat.
Pangos scored 6 of the first 8 Zalgiris points, but Carlos Suarez and Dragan Milosavljevic hit a triple apiece and Nedovic knocked down 2 from long distance to open a 6-13 margin for Unicaja. Jankunas had a pair of baskets for the hosts, and Arturas Milaknis hit a triple to tie it at 17-17. Diez scored a fastbreak layup to beat the first-quarter buzzer before Waczynski started the second with a four-point play and a runner. Diez added a fastbreak layup and a triple during a 0-11 run that gave Unicaja a 19-30 lead. Waczynski and Pangos traded triples, and Brandon Davies scored inside for Zalgiris to make it 30-35, but another three from Diez helped Unicaja go into halftime up 32-40.
With a pair of baskets from Micic, Zalgiris closed to within 38-42 early in the third, but Milosavljevic hit a three to give Unicaja some breathing room. The teams traded blows, with White and Antanas Kavaliauskas scoring on one end, while Nedovic and Augustine did so from close range on the other. Zalgiris did go in front before getting a basket from Jankunas at 52-51, although a pair of inside buckets from Georgi Shermadini made it 52-55 for Unicaja after 30 minutes.
Waczynski nailed a triple to open the fourth quarter, but Pangos had a jumper and a three-pointer in a 7-0 run that put Zalgiris back in front, 59-58. Ulanovas hit for three and Jankunas dunked on the break as Zalgiris surged ahead 66-61. Alberto Diaz had a three-pointer and Augustine hit a baseline jumper for the visitors, but Zalgiris kept the lead through White and Jankunas. When Milaknis hit a three against Unicaja’s zone defense, the Zalgiris margin reached 75-68. Unicaja did not go away, however, as Suarez answered with a three-pointer, before Augustine and Waczynski scored quick baskets that closed the gap to a single possession. Unicaja had the final 13 seconds to win or send the game to overtime, but Ulanovas blocked McCallum at the rim to secure a Zalgiris victory.