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EuroCup progression hangs in the balance after heavy defeat

Valencia's Antonine Diot is unchallenged as he leaps for a rebound
Valencia's Antonine Diot is unchallenged as he leaps for a rebound / EFE
  • Unicaja were thrashed by a rampant Valencia in their worst match of the season, throwing their future in the competition into doubt

Valencia tore Unicaja apart. In their worst performance of the season and, indeed, in recent memory, the vast gap between Plaza’s side and Valencia was revealed on Wednesday. The hosts are a complete and relentless side, whereas the Malaga outfit, four months after the start of the season, still do not know their game style nor their best lineup.

Valencia are a side without any star players or high scorers but they play with order, with defence, with three good guards who look for their centres and play logical and attractive basketball. Unicaja could beat them if they scored 20 three-pointers but, as of today, they are still a long way behind. Valencia will top the group and the Malaga side will be hard pressed to remain in the competition.

Despite the final result, it was Unicaja who came out of the blocks fastest to lead by 2-11 after four minutes. Pedro Martínez called a time-out and his side responded, bringing the scores back to 18-18 at the end of the first quarter.

The game had swung in favour of the hosts as they quickly established a 27-20 lead, with Dubljevic getting the better of Omic. Unicaja found their feet from distance, netting four three-pointers in a row to regain the lead at 32-34 but the points soon dried up, with Valencia scoring ten unanswered points to lead 42-34 at the break.

At this stage, it becomes hard to understand how a side who were down by eight points could return to the court with the lack of intensity that Unicaja had, with Valencia scoring at will. The eight-point gap was soon extended to 20 points, with the third quarter ending 69-49.

The Malaga side were not even able to sugarcoat the scoreline in the final quarter due to their complete absence of motivation. The side scored just 28 points in the second half as they succumbed to an 86-62 hammering.