Unicaja Malaga overcame UCAM in Murcia to get to the Supercopa Endesa final

2023-09-16T23:34:44+00:00 2023-09-17T00:12:51+00:00.

Cesare Milanti

16/Sep/23 23:34


Unicaja Malaga will now have the opportunity to win its first-ever Supercopa Endesa

By Cesare Milanti / info@eurohoops.net

MURCIA, Spain – In an incredible atmosphere created on the stands of the Palacio de los Deportes in Murcia, Unicaja Malaga managed to get an impressive 79-74 victory against the hosts UCAM, following on all their preseason victories.

The Andalucian team had a great contribution on both sides of the floor from Nihad Djedovic, who had a pretty good performance of 13 points and 6 rebounds. Playing the 3rd place final at the 2023 FIBA World Cup in Manila with Canada less than a week ago, Melvin Ejim went close to a double-double with 9 points and 7 rebounds, while also adding 3 assists. Tyson Carter was also crucial with 12 points.

“We dominated for the majority of the game. We thought the game was over by 14 points but with UCAM Murcia you can never think about it. Credit to them and to their defense. With Osetkowski on the court, it’s a different game, and his three fouls conditioned it. With only one training and a half, Melvin Ejim was able to do something different tonight, something you don’t usually see on the statsheet”, Ibon Navarro commented following the victory.

The newcomers Ludde Hakanson and Dylan Ennis both had a good showing for Sito Alonso’s team in their official debut. The Swedish playmaker proved to have good chemistry with his countryman Simon Birgader, and ended with 10 points; the former Galatasaray guard, instead, finished with 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Nemanja Radovic added 13 points – 10 of them in the third quarter – and 7 rebounds. Moussa Diagne provided 13 points and 4 rebounds.

“Many positive things all throughout the game. We have way more individual talent that we can’t really see if we don’t have order. Nemanja Djedovic was unbelievable. The key of the game has been the steals of the third and fourth quarters. The show the fans delivered tonight I never saw it before, they were 10/10”, Sito Alonso commented in the post-game press conference.

With only 4:41 minutes left in the first quarter, Dylan Osetkowski already had three fouls. UCAM Murcia stepped up in the last moments of the first quarter, but Tyler Kalinoski reduced the gap to 20-19 with a three-pointer off the screen. Entering the second with perfect equality (20-20), Unicaja Malaga had an 8-0 run which put Ibon Navarro’s team ahead 37-31 with 3:16 minutes until halftime, but the hosts bounced back to reduce the gap to four points (41-37) at the end of the second quarter.

Unicaja Malaga began the second half in the best way possible, going rapidly up 52-43 following Melvin Ejim’s thunderous dunk in fast-break. However, the home side bounced back once again with a 9-0 run, bringing the encounter to the equal side of things with 3:07 minutes until the final period. Tyson Carter led his team to the four-point lead (60-56) at the end of the third.

Alberto Diaz gave Unicaja a comfortable nine-point (65-56) lead with a three off the dribble at 8:33 on the clock in the fourth, while Tyson Carter followed with a clutch 2+1 layup. The former Zenit Saint Petersburg guard brought his team up 74-62 with 5:31 left. From then on, Unicaja Malaga never turned back, despite UCAM Murcia reducing the gap to three points in the last minute of the game. UCAM Murcia had the opportunity to tie the game with Dustin Sleva, but it just didn’t happen.

After battling this badly against the hosts of the Spanish competition, Unicaja Malaga will now face Real Madrid in the 2023 Supercopa Endesa final tomorrow at 19:00 CET. Chus Mateo’s team beat Barcelona 90-80 in the first semifinal of the day in Murcia.


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