04 October, 2022
14 May, 2023
4 Tyler Kalinoski (UNI)
Game Report
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Unicaja pull away late from PAOK to remain unbeaten

 MALAGA (Spain) - Unicaja remain one of only five undefeated teams at 3-0 in the Basketball Champions League after they defended home court tonight against PAOK mateco 77-63.

Unicaja have conceded fewer than 70 points in consecutive BCL games for the first time in the competition.


Turning point: PAOK trailed by 7 points in the first quarter but fought back and traded blows with Unicaja to trail by 3 points. Unicaja then extended their lead to 9 points in the second quarter with several more made field goals, but Jaylen Hands scored 5 points in a row including a buzzer beater three-pointer to cut PAOK's deficit to 4 points.

In the second half, PAOK got to within a single point on multiple occasions but couldn't regain the lead, as Unicaja pulled away in the fourth quarter. Unicaja held PAOK to 9 points in the final quarter after never conceding fewer than 13 points in the last 10 minutes of a BCL game.


Game hero: Unicaja's Dario Brizuela only played 19 minutes off the bench, but that was all the time he needed to be the game's top scorer, finishing with 27 points and 2 rebounds on 10-of-14 shooting from the field, 3-of-4 from three-point and a perfect 4-of-4 from the free-throw line.

The 27 points scored by the 27-year-old are the most by a Spanish player in a single BCL game ever. Brizuela is the third player coming off the bench to have scored more than 25 points in the BCL this season.


Stats don't lie: Unicaja dominated in points from the bench, 55-15, with Brizuela leading the way with 27 points, while Alberto Diaz, Dylan Osetkowski and Augusto Lima chipped in 9 points, 6 points and 6 points, respectively. Unicaja also had a wide advantage in points in the paint (42-18) with most of that damage being done by big men David Kravish and Lima.

They also held PAOK 41-24 in total rebounds and 15-5 on the offensive glass.

Bottom line: Unicaja remain unbeaten at 3-0 and remain on top of Group G. The Spanish club will travel to face JDA Bourgogne Dijon (2-1) on Wednesday November 30. PAOK fall to 1-2 in the group and were led in defeat by Yannick Franke who finished with 18 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. The Greek club will travel to face Dinamo BDS Sassari (0-3) on Tuesday November 29.

PAOK's Zaccheus Darko-Kelly suffered a scary ankle injury early in the game and the players and coaches showed him their support in the postgame press conference.

They said:

"We wish Zach the best possible recovery. I think it was a game where we didn't get our rhythm. Too many times, there were too many calls. We were not able to get a clean 4 or 5 actions in a row. I think we finished the game trying to improve and increase our defensive intensity looking for steals that provide us the chance to score." - Ibon Navarro, Head Coach Unicaja

"I'm so sorry for Zach. That injury was a scary one. I hope he's good, I wish him the best because that was hard to see. It was a tough game for sure, they played really good. I think we did so many good things." - Dario Brizuela, Unicaja

"Obviously we are disappointed that we lost the game because I believe we were very competitive today. I believe we didn't have a lot of energy and power to finish the game the same way, but I want to congratulate my players for the effort. We are very sad because we lost a very important player for us that gives us energy and I believe especially for that game he would have been really important. His injury is serious. I believe he's going to miss the rest of the season."- Aristeidis Lykogiannis, Head Coach PAOK mateco

"Prayers to our good teammate Zach for the injury, I heard it's pretty bad. You wish nobody has this injury. We got outrebounded by a lot, so somehow, we didn't have enough effort on the boards. We have to analyze the last four minutes in order to discuss what happened that we let it go to a 14-point game." - Yannick Franke, PAOK mateco