Barcelona fends off Panathinaikos in OT
FC Barcelona shrugged off sidelined players and a double-digit deficit to work its way past Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 97-89 in overtime on Thursday night for a home victory. Cory Higgins collected 24 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists and Brandon Davies posted 20 points and 5 rebounds for Barcelona, which improved to 3-1 despite missing Nikola Mirotic and Victor Claver and losing Alex Abrines during the game. Kyle Kuric added 14 points and Nick Calathes tallied 14 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists against his former team. Panathinaikos dropped to 1-2 despite Marcus Foster pouring in 24 points with Howard Sant-Roos scoring 17 points. Kostas Mitoglou added 16 points and 12 rebounds and Nemanja Nedovic chipped in 15 points in the loss for Panathinaikos.
Ioannis Papapetrou's jumper in the lane got Panathinaikos on the board first with Foster getting a layup and three-pointer as the guests raced ahead 2-11. Another Foster basket made it 4-15 and Coach Sarunas Jasikevicius called a timeout midway through the first quarter. Roland Smits netted 4 points to jumpstart Barcelona’s 9-3 finish to the first quarter, including keeping Panathinaikos scoreless for the final 3 minutes to trail 13-18 after 10 minutes. Barcelona’s good run moved into the second quarter with Calathes and Kuric hitting back-to-back triples to move ahead 21-18. Foster finally snapped the Greens' scoreless rut of nearly 5 minutes with a jumper and he added a steal and dunk for a 21-24 advantage. Barcelona punched back with Calathes and Kuric again hitting three-pointers to go up 29-24. Barcelona was held without a point for 4 minutes while Panathinaikos went to the line and reclaimed the lead, 29-31, with 5 free throws. Thomas Heurtel came off the bench with 5 points for the hosts, who went into the break up 36-35.
Mitoglou continued his good game at the start of the second half with 5 points in helping Panathinaikos surge ahead 36-42. Barcelona finally got on the board after 2 minutes on a dunk by Higgins, who also had a three-pointer to pull within 41-42. The Greens were not impressed and responded with triples from Sant-Roos, Foster and Nedovic as well as a Foster dunk to grow the margin to double figures, 44-55. Barcelona picked up its defense to hold Panathinaikos scoreless for 3 minutes and Calathes and Kuric yet again hit three-pointers in a 12-0 run to take the lead 56-55. The game was even at 58-58 after 30 minutes. The back and forth continued in the fourth quarter with Barcelona’s 4 points answered by 5 points from Panathinaikos, including a Nedovic triple to make it 62-63. Nedovic hit another triple only to be answered by a Calathes three and 4 straight points from Davies as Barcelona was up 71-68 inside 2 minutes to play. Leonidas Kaselakis's jumper made it a one-point game before Higgins and Mitoglou both hit free throws. Davies followed with foul shots with 17 seconds remaining for a 75-72 lead. Kaselakis was fouled taking a three-pointer with 7.8 seconds left and he hit all 3 free throws to tie the game at 75-75.
Adam Hanga scored his first points of the game on a three-pointer to start overtime. Foster hit a triple at the other end, but Kuric countered with a three-pointer and Hanga hit another triple before a Davies alley-oop layin for an 89-81 lead. Panathinaikos would not go down without a fight as Nedovic and Sant-Roos both connected from long range to pull within 93-89 with 18 seconds left. But Higgins finished off Panathinaikos with 4 free throws in the final 27 seconds.
Another Barcelona home victory over Panathinaikos
Barcelona won its fourth straight game against Panathinaikos to improved its record against the Greens in the EuroLeague since 2000 to 24-13. Barcelona has a 15-4 record at home including 10 consecutive wins. The Spanish power’s last home loss to Panathinaikos dates back to Game 2 of the 2013 playoffs.
Did you notice?
Barcelona’s personnel problems got a little worse as Alex Abrines injured his ankle in the final minutes of the first quarter and he could not play the rest of the game.
Barcelona held Panathinaikos to 45.7% on two-point shooting while hitting 52.8% on twos. The home side also connected on 41.9% of its three-pointers.
Panathinaikos heads back home for Round 5 and will host Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul on Thursday, October 22. Barcelona will remain at home for El Classico against archrival Real Madrid the next day.
Thursday, October 15, 2020