ANDhe Bitci Baskonia ended their five-game losing streak with an agonizing 92-89 win at the Buesa Arena against Malaga’s Unicaja – who posted their fourth straight setback at ACB. The Costa del Sol dominated in the game and on the scoreboard for most of the game, but a 10-0 run against at the beginning of the fourth quarter confirmed the resurrection of a Baskonia who lived on the back of a very successful 24-point Granger -with 7 of 11 in triples-, and a Sedekerskis who had the best game of his professional career (22 points, 11 rebounds, 35 PIR). Two free throws by Giedratis in the absence of 7 seconds put the culmination of a few last minutes of madness, and they were entered with a tie at 74.
Despite an initial triple by Sedekerskis, Unicaja wasted no time in opening the scoreboard (3-9, min.3) after 7 almost consecutive points from Abromaitis. Fontecchio scored a layup after a play on the wing, but that would be the only basket in play for the Vitorians in the next four and a half minutes. The Malagueños, with a very inspired Bouteille and a total dominance of the rebound, increased their income until reaching 6-18 at 7 minutes. Ivanovic stopped the game and Marinkovic was in charge of thanking him with 8 consecutive points that closed the first quarter with the Vitoria players clamped to the game (14-22).
Without any team capable of scoring in the 3 minutes of the second quarter, the game entered a phase of disorder which Barreiro ended with two triples (14-28, min.13) With Fontecchio as the only weapon in attack, the Alava They were no match for a Unicaja who, with more confidence and patience, handled the game comfortably (21-35, min.16). A triple from Granger and a two plus one from Costello in a counterattack would wake up the Baskonians, who also opted, from that moment on, to play without centers. With Sedekerskis occupying the position of ‘five’, Baskonia was able to rejoin the match at halftime, 36-41, thanks to 7 points from the Lithuanian.
Granger took the helm after the restart to allow Baskonia to hold on in the match. The Uruguayan scored the first 8 points for his team, although Unicaja was still at the helm of the match (42-49, min.24). Ivanovic, aware of the extreme situation of his team – and by extension, of his own – decided to bet again on a configuration without pivots. Katsikaris and Unicaja looked for different formulas to adjust to the scenario that Baskonia proposed, and although Bouteille continued hammering the Vitorian ring, the game had already turned (60-62, min.30)
The final turning point would come as soon as the last period started. Two triples, one from Granger and the other from Sedekerskis set Baskonia on fire and caused a 10-0 run in just a minute and a half to turn the game around (70-62, min. 32). Unicaja did not break down despite this and continued to row with the aim of slowing down the rhythm of an opponent who threatened to run out of control, but who played with the risk of succumbing to exhaustion -Ivanovic only used 6 players in his rotation in the entire season. second half-.
Barreiro tied the game at 74 with 5 minutes to go, kicking off the most spectacular stretch of the game. The exchanges of blows were constant, with ties succeeding in each possession. The first and only triple by Giedraitis gave Baskonia an advantage of 4 points, 87-83, with 47 ” left, but that Unicaja refused to accept. Bouteille approached his team with a basket and Brizuela would leave the game in a single point with 17 seconds remaining. The final outcome would come from the hand of Giedraitis, who captured the rebound after Sedekerskis’ double failure from the free kick, receiving the foul and sealing the last points of his team from the line.
92 – Bitci Baskonia (14 + 22 + 24 + 32): Granger (24), Giedraitis (11), Fontecchio (13), Sedekerskis (22) and Costello (8) -starting five-, Nnoko (-), Marinkovic (13), Baldwin (1), Enoch (-) and Kurucs (-).
89 – Unicaja (22 + 19 + 21 + 27): Norris Cole (11), Brizuela (11), Bouteille (23) Abromaitis (17) and Eric (8) -five starting-, Alberto Díaz (3), Jaime Fernández (2), Barreiro (11), Alonso (-) Nzosa (2), Carlos Suárez (-) and Rubén Guerrero (1).
Referees: Carlos Peruga, Francisco Araña and Alberto Baena. They eliminated the visitor Eric (min.34) and the local Fontecchio (min.35) and Granger (min.40) for personal fouls.
Incidents: match corresponding to the ninth day of the Endesa League played at the Fernando Buesa Arena in Vitoria before 6,206 spectators.