2020-21Regular SeasonRound 25
February 18, 2021 CET: 21:00
Local time: 21:00 PALAU BLAUGRANA

Barcelona thrashes Zalgiris at home

FC Barcelona remained atop the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season standings after beating Zalgiris Kaunas 86-62 at Palau Blaugrana on Thursday. Barcelona improved to 18-7 and registered its seventh win in the last eight games. Zalgiris dropped to 13-11. Cory Higgins and Pierre Oriola paced the winners with 19 points apiece, Brandon Davies scored 12 against his former team and Nikola Mirotic had 10 for Barcelona. Nigel Hayes led Zalgiris with 9 points. Higgins and Mirotic helped Barcelona to a 39-30 lead late in the first half. The hosts boosted their margin to 48-37 at halftime and then again to 71-47 at the end of the third quarter as it cruised to a well-deserved win.

Hayes and Thomas Walkup each hit a triple and Joffrey Lauvergne added a floater for an early 7-8 Zalgiris lead. Arturas Milaknis followed a layup with a three-pointer, but Mirotic and Oriola gave Barcelona a 14-13 edge. Higgins took over with a coast-to-coast layup and a dunk, but Milaknis struck again from downtown and Martinas Geben dunked to tie the score, 20-20. After Higgins hit a mid-range jumper, Marius Grigonis and Augustine Rubit gace Zalgiris a 22-24 edge. Davies scored down low to tie it again, 24-24, after 10 minutes. Leo Bolmaro found his first points early in the second quarter and Kyle Kuric capped a 7-0 run with a triple. Davies swished a jumper, but Hayes brought the visitors within 31-28. Rolands Smits stepped up with a tip-in, Mirotic added a put-back basket, Higgins erased Grigonis's floater with a driving layup and Nick Calathes prompted Zalgiris to call timeout at 39-30. Grigonis and Lauvergne stepped up for Zalgiris, but Alex Abrines struck from beyond the arc and Higgins added a jumper for a 46-34 Barcelona lead. Paulius Jankunas took over with a three-point play but Higgins scored again to fix the halftime score at 48-37.

Mirotic buried a corner triple right after the break and fed Oriola for a layup that caused Zalgiris to stop the game at 53-37. Calathes scored in penetration, Smits added a layup and Davies hit a couple of jumpers that broke the game open, 61-41. Davies got help from Adam Hanga and Bolmaro to boost the lead to 71-47 after 30 minutes. Oriola hit back-to-back jumpers early in the fourth quarter and soon added a floater that sealed the outcome, 77-49, with over 7 minutes left. Oriola and Bolmaro kept pushing Barcelona and even though Zalgiris never gave up, the hosts stayed out of trouble until the final buzzer.

Pivotal performer

Barcelona captain Pierre Oriola had strong contributions at both ends of the floor with his trademark character and intensity. He finished the game with a career-high 19 points on 7-of-8 two-point shooting, 1-of-2 on three-pointers, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 2 blocks for a PIR of 27, also a personal best.

Game-changing moment

Augustine Rubit scored around the basket to give Zalgiris its last lead, 22-24. Brandon Davies beat the first-quarter buzzer with a layup, Leo Bolmaro hit a pair of free throws and Kyle Kuric fired in a three-pointer to put Barcelona ahead for good, 31-24. The hosts used that momentum to improve their defense and dominate the game.

Stellar stat

Two-point shots and turnovers made the difference in this game. Barcelona hit 30 of 44 shots inside the arc (68.2%) and committed just 11 turnovers. Zalgiris made 18 of 37 two-point shots (48.6%) and finished the game with 20 turnovers, matching its season-high.

Did you know?

Paulius Jankunas climbed to second place in the EuroLeague's all-time PIR table. Jankunas, who had a PIR of 7, has amassed a PIR of 3,893 during his 18-year EuroLeague career and went past Juan Carlos Navarro, who now ranks third at 3,980. Vassilis Spanoulis leads the all-time PIR standings at 4,129.

Next game

Both teams return to EuroLeague action next week. Zalgiris visits Real Madrid on Thursday, February 25. The following day, Barcelona hosts LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne.

Cory Higgins - FC Barcelona - EB20
Thursday, February 18, 2021
Euroleague.net
Referees: RYZHYK, BORYS; PASTUSIAK, PIOTR; SILVA, SERGIO
Attendance: 0
By Quarter1234
FC Barcelona24242315
Zalgiris Kaunas24131015
End of Quarter1234
FC Barcelona24487186
Zalgiris Kaunas24374762
FC Barcelona
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 DAVIES, BRANDON 11:40 12 5/6   2/2   1 1 1 1       4 5 15
8 HANGA, ADAM 16:13 2 1/2 0/1   1   1 4 1 3 1   1   3
9 BOLMARO, LEANDRO 20:08 8 2/4 0/1 4/4 1 4 5 6 1 3     1 4 17
10 SMITS, ROLANDS 18:31 4 2/2 0/1   2   2     1 2   3 1 4
14 PUSTOVYI, ARTEM 6:11 2 1/1                 1   1   2
18 ORIOLA, PIERRE 28:10 19 7/8 1/2 2/3 2 5 7 1 1   2   2 2 27
21 ABRINES, ALEX 16:47 3   1/2         1 1 1     3    
22 HIGGINS, CORY 20:02 19 8/9 1/1   1 2 3 3 1 1 1     2 27
23 MARTINEZ, SERGI 10:00   0/1 0/1     1 1 1 1 1          
24 KURIC, KYLE 17:25 3 0/1 1/4     1 1   2         1 3
33 MIROTIC, NIKOLA 15:01 10 2/6 2/3   1 2 3 1 1     1 3   6
99 CALATHES, NICK 19:52 4 2/4 0/2     2 2 5 1 1     1 1 7
Team           1   1               1
Totals 200:00 86 30/44 6/18 8/9 9 18 27 23 11 11 7 1 19 16 112
        68.2% 33.3% 88.9%
Head coach: JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Zalgiris Kaunas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 WALKUP, THOMAS 19:25 3 0/3 1/2   1 1 2 4   1   1 3 1 1
10 HAYES, NIGEL 21:08 9 1/6 1/4 4/4 2 1 3   1 1   1 1 2 4
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS 10:07 3 1/1   1/1 2 2 4 2   1     3 2 7
16 LUKOSIUNAS, KAROLIS 13:11 2 1/1 0/1   1 1 2   1 1 1   3   1
21 MILAKNIS, ARTURAS 18:30 8 1/1 2/3             2       1 6
23 GEBEN, MARTINAS 14:36 6 3/4     1 3 4 2 1 2   1 1   8
24 RUBIT, AUGUSTINE 24:03 6 3/6 0/3   2 5 7 1   2   2   3 7
31 JOKUBAITIS, ROKAS 20:35 6 2/4   2/4       2 3 3     2 3 5
32 VASTURIA, STEVE 5:41 3   1/1         1 1           5
40 GRIGONIS, MARIUS 27:30 8 2/5 0/5 4/4 1   1 4 2 1   2 1 7 10
77 LAUVERGNE, JOFFREY 25:14 8 4/6     2 3 5   1 3     2   7
Team           3 1 4     3         1
Totals 200:00 62 18/37 5/19 11/13 15 17 32 16 10 20 1 7 16 19 62
        48.6% 26.3% 84.6%
Head coach: SCHILLER, MARTIN

Head Coaches

JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS
FC Barcelona
"Congratulations to our players and fans. I think it was a great performance today against a team that is playing really good basketball. I think against a team that has the ability to score a lot of points with ease, we came out with the right mentality. I think we didn't finish the possessions in the first quarter. We allowed Zalgiris to take 10 offensive rebounds in the first half and that was the key why the game was more difficult. In the third quarter, our defense was absolutely spectacular and we were able to control the game and finish it off at that time. We miss [our fan group] Dracs a lot. We miss the atmosphere at Palau in EuroLeague game nights, which is very important for us. It is very important for the players. They were a little bit nostalgic because they cannot be here with us, but we saw them before the game. One of the keys, and I have to say it out loud, was that Thomas Walkup is very important for them and had a lot of problems last night. Maybe he ate something wrong and Zalgiris without Walkup is very different. It gives the team confidence, toughness and experience, but we have to give credit to our guys, who played a great game."
SCHILLER, MARTIN
Zalgiris Kaunas
"First of all, congratulations to Barcelona for the win, very deserved win. Also, congratulations to Barcelona for winning the Copa del Rey, it is difficult to win that, three games in three days, starting with that Unicaja game like that. It was a really good accomplishment and the final was impressive. So, congrats there. To the game, first of all, Barcelona is very good, but I am not satisfied with our compete rate, I want to say. This does not mean that we didn't run as fast as we could - no, the guys physically gave everything that they had, but in order to compete with a team like Barcelona, it is very important that also mentally we compete. And our extra focus, extra concentration, we were lacking it on both ends of the floor. Therefore, we didn't have a chance to kind of really compete."

Players

HIGGINS, CORY
FC Barcelona
"I think we had an excellent defensive game. That is our motto, when we play defense, we usually play well, and we did that tonight. Everything starts from the defensive end. We know we are a very talented offensive team, so if we get stops, it puts us in a good position."
ORIOLA, PIERRE
FC Barcelona
"I am very happy about how the team played tonight after winning a championship last Sunday, also against a team that is not easy to play. They play with intensity on defense and have great shooters, but in the second half, I think we played great defense and our offense was amazing. For me, the important thing is to win the game, keep playing this way and help the team."
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