Montepaschi Siena rallied past FC Barcelona Regal 77-74
Montepaschi Siena staged a dramatic come-from-behind Group D victory at home on Thursday night to hand FC Regal Barcelona its first loss of the season, 77-74. The win gave Siena a 7-2 record versus 8-1 for Barcelona, which still secured its status as group champion because of a greater margin of victory against the Italian champs last month. But for injury-ridden Siena, it was a victory to relish after falling behind 47-62 early in the fourth quarter. With scrappy defense and clutch shooting by Igor Rakocevic, who led the team with 21 points, and Pietro Aradori, who added 20, Siena outscored seemingly unbeatable Barcelona 30-12 in the final nine minutes. Siena also got 16 points from Nikos Zisis on 3-of-5 shooting from downtown and 7 from Tomas Ress. David Moss added 5 points, along with 3 steals and was a major factor defensively. Barcelona was led by Erazem Lorbek’s 22 points, while Chuck Eidson contributed 14 points and Pete Mickeal 9.
Working the ball down low, led by Kosta Perovic’s two unstoppable hook shots, Barcelona jumped out to a 2-9 early lead. Zisis banged in a triple to stop the run, but Lorbek answered with 4 straight points to push the score to 5-13. A steal and fast break by Moss and two triples by a hot-shooting Zisis cut the lead to 13-16. Consecutive baskets by Rakocevic gave the hosts their first lead of the game, 19-18. The lead seesawed then Zisis downed a layup give the host’s a 23-20 lead to end the first quarter.
Barcelona opened with a 5-0 run on a Fran Vazquez dunk and CJ Wallace triple to regain the lead, 23-25. A two-pointer by Siena’s Ress and free throws by both teams pushed the score to 28-27. The scoring continued back and forth, with Lorbek and Marcelinho hitting in the paint for Barcelona and Aradori from outside for Siena, including a triple at the buzzer to claim a 36-35 halftime lead.
Lorbek scored two baskets near the rim, then Juan Carlos Navarro recorded his first points of the game on a three-pointer to propel Barcelona to a 38-43 lead. David Andersen knocked down his first points on a reverse layup, slicing the lead to 40-43. Rakocevic streaked down the lane for a layup and Ress buried a triple to give Siena the lead again 45-44. Barcelona took off on an 8-0 run, including baskets by Lorbek, Eidson and Boniface Ndong to go out front 45-54. Zisis stopped the run once more, hitting a two-point jumper, soon answered by Eidson, but then Barcelona shined brighter as Joe Ingles heaved a bomb from the far end the court that landed for a triple and a 47-59 lead.
Eidson opened the final quarter with a triple as the visitors began to pull away, 47-62. But Siena was not ready to call it quits, as Andersen and Rakocevic hit consecutive two-pointers, the latter with a foul shot, slicing the lead to single-digits, 53-62. The scoring paced picked up as Eidson drilled another triple, then Rakocevic cut to the basket for a layup and Aradori put in a long two-point jumper that pushed the score to 57-65. After Barcelona’s Pete Mickeal downed a two-pointer from outside, Rakocevic took a steal to the basket, reducing the lead to 60-67. Lorbek and Aradori exchanged baskets, then Eidson drained a fall away to keep Siena at arm’s length, 62-71. The back and forth scoring continued apace, as Navarro looped in a running one-hander and Aradori hit another two-point jumper. Rakocevic buried a triple, then Ress slammed home a dunk as Siena pulled to 71-73 with just over 2 minutes to go. Mickeal split foul shots, setting the score at 71-74 with 1:12 on the clock, but then Anderson put back an offensive rebound to pull to 73-74. With 26 seconds to go, Aradori gave Siena the lead on two foul shots, 75-74, then Rakocevic added more points from the line as the hosts completed a thrilling comeback to take the win 77-74.
Thursday, December 15, 2011