Real Madrid edged UCAM Murcia on their travels in the final game before the break for the Copa del Rey and the Whites will be heading to Badalona as league leaders. After an evenly contested first fifteen minutes, the madridistas cruised to their 17th win in the competition with a 17-0 run in the five minutes between the end of the first half and the start of the second half. It was great work in rebounding (47) and a cohesive performance, with Hezonja (16 points, 10 rebounds and a PIR of 25) and Tavares (18, 10 and 24) in double-digit scoring, to help the side extend its run of seven wins on the bounce.
A minute's silence was held in memory of the victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, which was followed by a first quarter of scoring runs. Madrid opened with a 3-10 run spearheaded by Tavares who bossed the rebounding (6 points and 2 rebounds). And the second, for the home team, neutralising Madrid's lead in the following minutes to restore parity (20-20, min.10).
Into the break on top
The Murcians countered Madrid on the back of Pustovyi's efforts, with the game turning into a very physical battle. Chus Mateo's charges saw the direction the game was heading in and they continued to prevail on the rebound, shutting down their opponents' greatest threat. In attack, they palliated their lack of success from the three-point line with the contributions of Sergio Rodríguez (8 points) and Deck, who made his presence felt at both ends of the court (8 points and 7 rebounds). In the midst of Sito Alonso's men's surge, the madridistas launched another offensive onslaught, but this time there was no reaction. After dominating the offensive rebounding, the Whites managed to gain more consistency in attack with the inside connection between Yabusele and Tavares. The score went from 32-30 in the 17th minute to 32-40 after a 0-10 run to close the first half.
Video.80-88: Victory in Murcia to head to Copa del Rey as leaders
Madrid began the third quarter just as they had ended the second. The team improved not only in terms of defence, but also turned it on in offensive. Musa and Yabusele drove the side on to extend the lead with another 0-7 run. Chus Mateo's troops looked to put the game to bed. Williams-Goss joined in with a fine scoring display to bring the lead to 21 points (38-59, min.26) with a 6-29 run.
Madrid maintain the lead
UCAM Murcia kept pushing to get back into the contest. Two three-pointers from Anderson and a succession of excellent baskets from Radovic spurred them on, but Madrid swiftly shut them down. An extremely effective Hezonja came to the fore. His five points for a total of 31 for the team in the third quarter ensured that the Whites enjoyed a comfortable lead heading into the final stretch (55-71, min.30). Buoyed by the home fans, the Murcians mounted a late rally and reduced the deficit from three-point range. But Madrid showed some restraint, spearheaded by the outstanding Tavares and Hezonja, who both finished in double-digit scoring.
UCAM MURCIA-REAL MADRID STATISTICS