Barcelona takes 85-88 OT win in Kaunas
FC Barcelona Lassa surged into a share of fourth place by outlasting host Zalgiris Kaunas in overtime for a 85-88 road win on Friday. Barcelona improved to 5-2 and now shares fourth place with AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan and Anadolu Efes Istanbul. Zalgiris fell to 3-4 and remains winless at home this season after four tries. Kyle Kuric hit 5 of 6 three-pointers to lead five double-digit scorers for Barcelona. Ante Tomic added 14, Thomas Heurtel and Jaka Blazic 11 each, and Kevin Pangos 10. Zalgiris got 21 points off the bench from Aaron White, whose dunk in the final minute of the fourth quarter forced overtime. The hosts also had 19 points from Nate Wolters and 12 from Brandon Davies but suffered from collective 5-for-22 three-point shooting.
Big men Tomic and Davies shared 5 two-pointers before Kuric squeezed off 2 triples for a 9-18 Barcelona lead. Thomas Walkup got Zalgiris within a basket before Heurtel's triple left Barcelona up 23-18 after 10 minutes. Deep strikes from Blazic and Victor Claver forged the first double-digit lead, 20-30. Wolters and Walkup answered from the arc, but Kuric hit his fourth from the same distance as Barcelona hung onto a 34-39 halftime lead. Antanas Kavaliauskas and Wolters led a Zalgiris charge to within 47-49, but Blazic sparked a closing surge to a 50-60 Barcelona advantage after three quarters. White tried to drag Zalgiris back, but Chris Singleton's triple meant Barcelona's biggest lead, 59-72 with 5 minutes left. Free throws from White and Davies later cut the difference to 70-74 before White's steal fell to Wolters for a layup. Heurtel and Wolters exchanged layups next, then White forged a 76-76 tie on a fastbreak dunk with 40 seconds left to force overtime. In the extra period, Tomic's free throws fell before Pangos exploded for 5 points in a row to put Barcelona up 76-83. White's put-back came ended 3 scoreless minutes for Zalgiris and his free throws made it 82-86 with 1:25 left in OT, but Barcelona finally had enough to win.
Barcelona breaks spell
The victory broke Barcelona's three-game losing streak against Zalgiris. Before that, Barcelona had beaten Zalgiris 14 consecutive times over a decade between 2005 and 2015.
Barcelona's 12-for-23 (52.2%) three-point shooting as compared to 5-for-22 (22.7%) for Zalgiris proved decisive. The big gun for the visitors was Kyle Kuric, making 5 of 6 from deep, 4 of them in the first half.
Return of Pangos
Back to Kaunas for the first time since his All-EuroLeague performance led Zalgiris to the Final Four last season, Kevin Pangos had a quiet 5 points before entering with 4 minutes left in overtime. He then scored the same amount in less than a minute, which proved the final boost Barcelona needed.
Did you know?
Barcelona last shared fourth place in Round 7 of the 2016-17 season, but did not get that high again in the standings so late again that season or during the last one.
Barcelona stays on the road to face former coach Xavi Pascual and Panathinaikos OPAP Athens in Round 8, the first of two games in a double-round week. Zalgiris faces its closest thing to an arch-rival, CSKA Moscow, in the Russian capital, in a rematch from last year's third-place game. Zalgiris won that game, but has never beaten CSKA in Moscow this century.
Friday, November 16, 2018