In a very one-sided match, Barcelona took care of business and safeguarded its share of second place in tight Group B with a 101-63 home victory Thursday over luckless London Towers. The Spaniards outplayed London in nearly every category to improve to 8-3 in Group B and stay in a two-way tie for second place along with Opel Skyliners. Olimpija and Ulker Istanbul, meanwhile, are one win behind at 7-4 with three games to go. Barcelona did not need a big scorer, just a lot of different ones, to reach triple digits on the board. Point guard Sarunas Jasikevicius led the winners wiht 16 points, and he scored 14 of those in the first quarter. Nikos Ekonomou and Roberto Dueñas added 12 each and Arturas Karnisovas 11. The high-powered offense of one of the hottest teams in the Euroleague exploded early, doubling the score of the struggling Brits. London (0-11) remains the only winless team in the Euroleague and will look for its first break next week against struggling Peristeri. On Thursday, London could at least boast one of the top scorers of this or any week, Terrell Myers, who had 33 points to lead the floor. Brett Eppehimer added 11 for the losers.
The match began in the most appropriate manner considering how it was to progress, with a three-pointer from Jasikevicius. The appearance of new London centger Ted Allen in the starting lineup did not affect matters because Barcelona had its outside shooting strokes well-oiled for the evening. Before five minutes were up, Barcelona was leading 17-6 and by the end of 10 had doubled London't score, 29-14. That commanding lead came on the strength of having converted 4 of 4 two-points shots and 6 of 9 threes in the quarter, with Jasikevicius alread having the kind of night most players would accept after 40 minutes. The point guard from Lithuania had lifted and landed all four three-pointers he tried in the quarter and was up to 14 points in the scoring column.
As it turns out, however, one London player would not only match, but improve upon the first quarter performance of Jasikevicius, who did not play the second. Barcelona showed several defenses in the second quarter, but Myers busted all of them, scoring 16 points without a miss in the 10 minutes before halftime. But Myers was about the only London player who could score. Despite his efforts, the maximum Barcelona lead of the first half hit 26 points, 49-23 after 16 minutes. Myers was enough by himself to reduce it to 14 points, at 51-37, before Barcelona finished the quarter with five unanswered points for a 56-37 lead. Myers was the leading scorer with 20 points.
In the third quarter, Barcelona's game never regained the intensity or the fluidity it had in the first due to a lack of concentration. The players on the court as well as those on the bench all seemed to sense that the match was already over. The English side fought back and reduced the gap to only 16 points, 65-49, halfway through the third period. It was their defense however that prevented them from getting any closer. None of London's centers could prevent Dueñas, now back on the court, from scoring at will. He went 6 for 6 with 12 points. By the end of the quarter, Barcelona was leading once again by more than 20 points, 77-54.
The depth of the Spanish bench played a very important factor in the fourth quarter. The visiting players were very tired while Barcelona was still able to score easily. Midway through the final period Barcelona succeeded in extending its lead to over 30 points for the first time to 89-58. Although Myers found himself in foul trouble towards the end of the game, he still managed to put points on the board. In the end however, his team could not prevent Barcelona from reaching the 100-points barrier on two free throws from Karnisovas. The final result, 101-63, came as no surprise given the tremendous differences that exist between these two teams.
Thursday, January 17, 2002