Shengelia's dunk lifts Baskonia past Barcelona
In an intense and physical showdown that went down to the final shot, KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz snapped its three-game losing streak by downing FC Barcelona 76-74 at home on Thursday. Baskonia improved to 7-10 in the standings and dropped Barcelona to 13-4 after going undefeated in five games in December. Pierria Henry led the winners with 20 points, Shavon Shields added 14 while Toko Shengelia had 13 for Baskonia. Nikola Mirotic paced Barcelona with 17 points, Kyle Kuric and Malcolm Delaney each added 13 while Brandon Davies had 12 for the visitors. Baskonia made 14 of its first 20 shots - including 8 from downtown - in boosting its margin to 47-31 at halftime. A three-pointer by Henry gave Baskonia a 52-31 lead soon after the break. Mirotic and Davies led the visitors' comeback and free throws by Pierre Oriola tied the lead, 74-74, already in the final minute. Shengelia took over with a go-ahead dunk in traffic and Oriola missed from downtown at the buzzer.
Shields got Baskonia going with a three-pointer and Shengelia added a jumper for a 5-2 lead. Mirotic stepped up with back-to-back layups, but didn't find much help . Matt Janning struck from downtown, Shengelia dunked in traffic and Shields added a layup to boost Baskonia's lead to 12-6. Adam Hanga rescued the visitors with a layup, but Sergi Garcia and Stauskas each buried one from beyond the arc before Barcelona stopped the game at 18-9. Delaney, Stauskas and Kuric each hit a triple to fix the score at 21-15 after 10 minutes. Janning insisted from downtown early in the second quarter and Shengelia dunked again, igniting a 9-0 run which Ilimane Diop capped with a jumper that made it a 15-point game. Davies buried a couple of jumpers and Delaney erased Henry's triple with his own shot from beyond the arc. Shields joined the three-point shootout, but Mirotic and Alex Abrines brought the visitors a bit closer, 37-26. Henry sank a turnaround jumper and added a step-back triple to break the game open. Ante Tomic scored down low and Delaney added another three-pointer to make it 47-31 at halftime.
Shengelia scored around the basket and Henry added a corner triple that ignited the crowd at 52-31. Mirotic tried to change things with a layup and Delaney added a four-point play that brought the visitors within 54-37. Mirotic found Davies for an easy layup and nailed a deep three-pointer. Diop stepped up with a layup and a bomb from downtown to set a 59-42 Baskonia lead. Kuric, Shields, Mirotic and Henry traded triples, but Barcelona found Davies for extra points in the paint that made it 65-54 after 30 minutes. Henry nailed his fifth three-pointer early in the fourth quarter. Kuric banked in a running shot and Abrines added a fastbreak layup that gave Barcelona hope at 68-58. The visitors found new go-to guys as Victor Claver sank a floater and Oriola added a three-pointer for a 68-63 score. Mirotic soon made it a 3-point game. Shengelia buried one from downtown to give Baskonia fresh air, but Kuric and Oriola brought the visitors even closer, 71-69. Shields downed his fourth three-pointer in the next-to-last minute only for Kuric to quickly answer from beyond the arc. Oriola hit free throws for a 74-74 tie with 56.5 seconds to go. Shengelia rescued Baskonia with a huge dunk, Mirotic missed a jumper and Barcelona got the ball back with 11 seconds left and a chance to win the game, but Oriola missed from downtown at the buzzer.
Pierria Henry played perhaps his best game this season. He had totaled 21 points in his team's last five EuroLeague games. In this game, he finished with 20 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting. Henry had made only 8 of 31 shots from downtown (25.8%) before this game. He added 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 5 fouls drawn for a game-high PIR of 22.
A wild fourth-quarter rally led by Kyle Kuric and Pierre Oriola, allowed Barcelona to tie the game at 74-74 with 56.5 seconds left. Shengelia stepped up with a monster dunk that gave Baskonia the lead for good. Mirotic missed a jumper and even though Barcelona got the ball back, Oriola missed a contested shot from the top of the key at the buzzer. Shengelia provided one of the plays of the season, but those two defensive stops in crunch time made the difference.
Baskonia hit 16 of 33 three-point shots (48.5%), which much better than its percentage before this game (31.7%). Baskonia's 16 three-point shots made tied for the second-biggest total in club history. Baskonia previously hit 17 three-point shots against Unicaja Malaga on January 25, 2016, and against Zalgiris Kaunas on November 16, 2017.
Did you notice?
Barcelona ended up having a much higher PIR (88) than Baskonia (77), which is very unusual for a losing team. In fact, it is the first time that Baskonia won a game with a lower PIR than its opponent this season.
Both teams return to EuroLeague action next week. Baskonia hosts Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul on Thursday, January 9. It is a rematch of their 2016 EuroLeague semifinals in Berlin, Germany. Barcelona hosts Anadolu Efes Istanbul on Friday.
Thursday, January 2, 2020