ASVEL downs Barca in historical road win
In a physical battle that went down to the wire, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne kept its great momentum going in the the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season by downing FC Barcelona 69-76 at Palau Blaugrana. ASVEL improved to 12-14 and is now on a six-game winning streak, its longest in the competition. Meanwhile, Barcelona dropped to 18-8 but still leads the standings. Norris Cole led the winners with 17 points. Moustapha Fall, David Lighty and William Howard each added 13 for ASVEL. Brandon Davies led Barcelona with 22 points off the bench. Nikola Mirotic added 19 for the hosts, who led 54-52 late in the third quarter. Cole and Howard stepped up in crunch time, as ASVEL got a 64-72 margin and managed to stay ahead until the final buzzer.
Mirotic got Barcelona going with a turnaround jumper that Cole bettered with a triple for a 2-3 ASVEL lead. Mirotic kept pacing the hosts with a put-back layup and a jumper but Howard and Fall kept their team ahead, 6-8. Lighty and Davies traded jumpers and Mirotic struck from downtown for an 11-10 Barcelona lead. Fall and Guerschon Yabusele each dunked and Amine Noua soon added a three-pointer to let ASVEL regain a 15-19 lead after 10 minutes. Davies kept pacing Barcelona early in the second quarter with 5 points in a 6-0 run that put his team ahead, 21-19. Ismael Bako rescued ASVEL with a three-point play and Lighty bettered Rolands Smits's put-back basket with a three-pointer, good for a 23-25 lead. Kuric struck twice from beyond the arc and Pierre Oriola dunked to make the guests call timeout at 31-28. Davies took over with a show-stopping slam but Fall kept ASVEL within 33-31. Yabusele and Cole got the guests even closer, 35-34, at halftime. Mirotic followed a corner three-pointer with a backdoor layup right after the break. Howard and Cole combined for all points in an 0-8 run that put ASVEL in charge, 40-42. Mirotic insisted from beyond the arc and added a layup, Davies hit a jump hook and Cory Higgins gave the hosts a 48-44 lead. Howard downed another triple and Lighty hit a jumper to keep the guests as close as 51-49. Bako took over with a power layup and Lighty matched Adam Hanga's triple with his own shot from downtown for a 54-54 tie after 30 minutes. Matthew Strazel and Lighty put ASVEL ahead, 54-58, early in the fourth quarter. Davies scored twice around the basket but Cole and Howard each sank a three-pointer for a 58-64 ASVEL edge with over 4 minutes left. Davies and Higgins stepped up for Barcelona but Fall followed a dunk with a three-point play to give the guests fresh air at 64-69. Cole buried a jumper and Lighty seemed to seal the outcome, 64-72. Higgins managed to bring Barcelona within 69-72 with 37.5 seconds left. Cole was ice cold from the foul line in crunch time, assuring ASVEL's historical win.
William Howard helped on the boards and opened the floor with his shots from downtown, being effective at both ends. He finished the game with 13 points on 3-of-5 three-pointers, adding 8 rebounds, an assist and 2 steal for a team-high PIR of 20.
Brandon Davies took over with an up-and-under layups that tied the game at 58-58. Norris Cole buried a three-pointer and William Howard copied him right after that, putting ASVEL ahead for good, 58-64. Moustapha Fall and Cole made sure ASVEL won the game down the stretch.
ASVEL's hustle allowed it to get its fourth road victory of the season. It was seen in all hustle stats, as the French powerhouse finished the game with 9 offensive rebounds, 9 steals and 4 blocks.
Did you know?
ASVEL beat Barcelona on the road for the first time in almost a quarter of a century. ASVEL's last win at Palau Blaugrana, 78-81, came on October 16, 1996 behind 35 points from club legend Delaney Rudd. Both teams met again that season in the 1997 EuroLeague semifinals on April 24, 1997 and Barcelona prevailed this time, 77-70, with 17 points from Sasa Djordjevic.
These teams return to EuroLeague action early next week, on Tuesday, March 2. ASVEL visits Zalgiris Kaunas while Barcelona visits Panathinaikos OPAP Athens in a very special game for Calathes, who will face his former team for the first time. Calathes played eight seasons for Panathinaikos in two stints, winning the EuroLeague title in 2011.
Friday, February 26, 2021