THE AEK she felt she could walk away victorious from home Malaga in the premiere of his “16” phase Basketball Champions League. The feeling (with a good appearance and proper defense) lasted until the end of the 3rd period (88-66).
That’s where Malaga dictated their pace, capitalized on every mistake by AEK and from the moment Elias Kanzouris’ team fell to 59-58, the Spaniards hit the gas, going on a 17-2 run to take the winning lead.
Akil Mitchell had 18 points and 13 rebounds, but when he got tired, combined with the expulsion of Isaiah Miles (5 fouls with 14 points), AEK was trapped.
Kendrick Perry, despite playing with 4 fouls for a long time, had 20 points, while David Kravis, who won many battles under the basket, had 22 points and 5 rebounds.
Otherwise, AEK started the first half and ended it otherwise. Isaiah Miles found the target from distance early in the match, but AEK did not attempt to control the tempo. He allowed it in Malaga. And the Spanish didn’t want anything else. They ran AEK and found easy points (13p.). And when the pace wasn’t frantic, the Spanish team took the game close to the basket, with David Kravis having 9 quick points.
A 5-0 run by Malaga, with the score at 22-17, brought them to +10 (27-17) for the first time, with the first quarter ending with AEK’s opponent at 29 points and 12 assists!
AEK, as usual in many of their games, appeared completely different. He took control of the pace, limited Malaga’s creation (2 assists in the entire 2nd), the defense of Flioni, Jankovic and also the aggressive mood of Strelnieks allowed AEK to get back on the scoreboard. Miles and Mitchell were the most consistent players in the scoring field, with AEK reaching… X (31-31) with a layup by Flionis.
What Elias Kanzouris’ players failed to do was limit Kendrick Perry. The American guard, last year at Panathinaikos, scored 10 of his 12 points (in the first half) in the 2nd period of the match.
But the bottom line was AEK got back into the match and stayed close to the score.
Mitchell all over the floor
As in the first half, so also in the second, AEK’s willingness to feed Mitchell was obvious and with 6 points from the American center, the score was 46-45.
Kendrick Perry reached 4 personal fouls, a factor that may play a role in the game. AEK equalized again (50-50) with an improbable three-pointer by Flionis at the end of the attack time, at the 27-minute mark in the match.
And in fact the Union went ahead in the score (52-51) for the first time after the 9-8 of the 1st period. And while Perry stopped scoring, being on the bench, Giancuba Sima took action to give Malaga a score. He scored seven straight points (from 50-47 to 55-52).
Essentially, in the last minutes of the 3rd, AEK “paid” for some frivolous mistakes, losing the opportunity to close the quarter in a better position than -5 (59-54).
A three-pointer by Williams again allowed AEK to reduce within shooting distance (59-58), with the American shooting guard certifying that he is in a good “moon”.
Malaga thanks to shots, a two-pointer by Kravis and a three-pointer by Brithuela (after a yellow-black mistake) brought the score – out of nowhere – to +8 (66-58 with a 7-0 run).
And a shot by Jedovic and an offensive rebound with an accurate two-pointer brought the streak to 10-0 and the difference for the first time in the match to 11.
With the score at 69-60, AEK also lost Miles, who committed his 5th personal foul (he finished with 14 points, 5 rebounds in 22:59).
Two phases later, AEK had lost its own attack and Malaga, which started to run again, pulled off the surprise with an earned foul (Kravis) for 74-60.
Overall Málaga took the 4th period 26-10, ending the match with 25 points taken out of the blue.
Crazy to think this was a one-point game in the fourth quarter… Kravish, Perry, Brizuela close the game out with a 𝟐𝟗-𝟖 hurricane over the last 8 mins! 🌪️😵 #BasketballCL
— Basketball Champions League (@BasketballCL) January 25, 2023
The quarters: 29-20, 44-39, 59-54, 88-66
The results (1st race)
Galatasaray – Limoges 100-75
Malaga – AEK 88-66
1. Galatasaray 1-0
2. Malaga 1-0
3. AEK 0-1
4. Limoges 0-1
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