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The winning formula

Brooks rises above Bellas to score
Brooks rises above Bellas to score / Agencia LOF
  • Unicaja kept a better rhythm, made better use of their bench and took advantage of an inform Nedovic to secure a 77-82 victory against Zaragoza

Important decisions in matches of the highest level are usually made for the following reasons: obligation, imposition or logic. Based on Unicaja's performance on Sunday, it is clear that Joan Plaza employed the latter to produce the necessary formula to allow his side to defeat Tecnyconta Zaragoza 77-82 and secure their first league win away from home in a month.

The Malaga outfit reduced the number of rotations, persevered with their inside game and allowed Nedovic the freedom to play at his best. These three factors allowed the side to prevail over their opponents. The Serbian produced a magnificent display, scoring 24 points and showing his leadership qualities, playing at a level above his peers.

The plan to focus on their inside game was evident from the start of the tie, but Musli conceded a number of fouls. Plaza gave a debut to centre Omic as he replaced Musli, but his impact was no different. As such, Unicaja failed to open up a significant gap at the end of the first quarter, leading 13-16.

Unicaja's play left much to be desired and their errors allowed Zaragoza to quickly draw level in the tie before moving ahead with the scores at 24-21. The hosts took advantage of the offensive lapse, with Unicaja scoring just two baskets in five minutes.

Plaza opted to play without centres in order to reanimate his defence. The decision paid off as his side regained the lead at 29-33. However, in the final minutes of the half, Unicaja consistently lost the ball and failed to gather rebounds, allowing the hosts to lead 34-33 at the break.

After the failed initiative at the start, Musli finally began to find his feet. The Malaga centre became unplayable, both in terms of his shooting and his blocking. He scored ten consecutive points for his side as they levelled at 45-45. Unicaja were unable to pull away as Benzing had the better of Waczynski, but Nedovic rallied to ensure his side were leading with ten minutes to go, 57-60.

The visitors started the final quarter in perfect fashion, with successive three-pointers from Fogg and Nedovic and a further score from Musli extending their lead to 57-68. Although Zaragoza reduced the gap to six points, Unicaja proved too strong and cruised to victory, 77-82.