It was an easier night than expected for Winterthur FC Barcelona, when on Thursday night, it defeated Pau-Orthez at home by 93-75. Pau only resisted one quarter, as in the second, Mario Kasun inside and Juan Carlos Navarro outside, allowed the hosts to pull away to 22 points at the break. The win lifts Barcelona to a 7-1 record, tied for first place with CSKA Moscow in Group C, while Pau drops to 4-4 to tie with Aris TT Bank for fourth place. Kasun was huge for the winners with 29 points including 11-for-15 in two-pointers and 8 boards, Navarro added 13 points and Jaka Lakovic chipped in 12. For Pau, Aaron Miles led the way with 16 points, Britton Johnsen added 15, Michael Wright 13 and Clint Harrison 10.
Mario Kasun opened the score with two free throws for Barca, as both teams struggled at that point to score from the field. It was Aaron Miles who scored the first jumper in minute 4, and Britton Johnsen joined in to make it 2-4 for Pau-Orthez. Rodrigo De la Fuente finalyy hit a triple for Barcelona after the hosts had been some minutes looking for outside shots, but Michael Wright found a three-point situaton to tie the game again, 9-9. Pau was up to 6 turnovers, and Barcelona used that through Kasun, who found himself an offensive rebound for 15-9. Clint Harrison found a space on the left wing for a three but Jaka Lakovic woke up with two free throws and a basket-plus-foul play that allowed Barca to pull away by 22-16. Juan Carlos Navarro drove in the lane for a layup, but Miles closed the quarter with a buzzer-beater that left things at 24-18 after one.
Navarro seemed to find the scoring momentum adding his first three, but Wright was active underneath for Pau, lifting a new layup. When the teams tried to run they found easier options in offense, but in the static play, Barca had the winning hand both in offense and defense especially inside, with a brilliant Kasun that found the right move everytime to score the layup, 31-22 after his 12th point. The first double-digit lead of the hosts arrived with Fran Vazquez's layup and Lakovic and Navarro added threes to punish Pau's basket a little more, 39-22 after a 10-0 run. Michael Bauer finally broke the 14-0 spell for Pau with a triple. The guests only found points from the long range now, totally opposite from what Barca did with a powerful frontcourt. Navarro however appeared again with a new three to make it a 20-point game, and Roko-Leni Ukic drove in the last play of the first half to make it 52-30 at the break.
Five points by Kasun together with a triple by Gianluca Basile launched Barcelona in the second half, but Thierry Rupert showed that Pau was still alive with points and tough defense and Miles joined in to make it 60-36. However, Kasun was soon up to 19 points and with great speed, Basile sealed a fastbreak for 64-38. The guests tried it desperately with fast triples but Barca even had luck on its side when Lakovic fed Kasun for a dunk. Miles kept on firing threes for Pau-Orthez but Basile replied in the same manner as it was clear that with that strategy, the guests would not win the game. Ricardo Greer insisted, getting Pau to 20 points again, 71-51, but Roger Grimau nailed a free throw to leave it at 72-51 after 30.
Johnsen posted a three-point play and Cadric Ferchaud added a three to make a 2-6 run, and then a layup to make it 2-8 for a 74-59 score forcing Barcelona's timeout. Trias stopped the slide with his own three, and Kasun added a new dunk to solve any doubts. At that point, Barcelona's concentration went down and that was taken advantage of by Pau with steals and Johnsen and Miles put a 83-68, but Ukic shut again any hopes of the French side with a new three. Pau never lowered its arms, but a powerful dunk by Kasun and a three by Grimau sealed the deal for good when the game entered the last minute with a 91-72.
Thursday, December 14, 2006