2020-21PlayoffsGame 5
May 04, 2021 CET: 21:00
Local time: 21:00 PALAU BLAUGRANA

Barcelona KO's Zenit, secures return to Final Four

FC Barcelona advanced to the 2021 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four after routing Zenit St Petersburg 79-53 at Palau Blaugrana on Tuesday. After splitting the first four games of the best-of-five series, Barcelona dominated Game 5 and punched its ticket to the Final Four for the first time in seven years. Cory Higgins led the winners with 15 points, Nick Calathes added 12 and Brandon Davies and Kyle Kuric each scored 11 for Barcelona. Alex Poythress led Zenit with 11 points and Kevin Pangos dished 10 assists in defeat. Davies and Pau Gasol helped Barcelona to a 23-14 lead after 10 minutes. Kuric and Leandro Bolmaro boosted the margin to 43-30 at halftime and little changed after the break, as Barcelona boosted its margin to 57-39 at the end of the third quarter and had plenty of time to celebrate a historic win.

Higgins hit a jumper and Davies added a layup to give Barcelona its first lead, 4-2. Pangos scored in penetration, found Tarik Black for a layup, and struck from downtown for a 6-9 Zenit edge. Calathes downed a corner triple and Gasol scored down low in a 9-0 run that gave Barcelona a 15-9 cushion. Poythress scored in the paint, but Adam Hanga answered with a put-back basket and Higgins hit a jumper to make it 19-11. Poythress dunked, but Davies scored twice in the paint to fix the score at 23-14 after 10 minutes. Bolmaro erased Pangos's floater with a huge dunk in traffic and soon struck from beyond the arc, prompting Zenit to stop the game at 28-16. Kuric downed a three-pointer and Calathes added a close basket to break the game open at 33-18. Gasol bettered Andrey Zubkov's jump hook with a three-point play, but Billy Baron answered from downtown to bring the visitors within 36-23. Poythress dunked again, but an outstanding Kuric kept Barcelona in control, 41-25. Will Thomas and Poythress managed to bring Zenit closer, 43-30, at halftime.

Gasol and Thomas traded mid-range jumpers after the break, then Poythress's jump hook got the visitors within 45-34. Calathes hit back-to-back jumpers and struck from downtown in a 12-0 run that Kuric capped with a three-pointer for a 57-34 Barcelona lead. Vitaly Fridzon buried a jumper and Baron sank a three-pointer, bringing the visitors within 57-39 after 30 minutes. Victor Claver scored his first points early in the fourth quarter and Higgins added a driving layup for a 61-39 Barcelona lead. Fridzon scored again and Thomas buried a triple to give Zenit hope, 61-44, with over 7 minutes left. Higgins answered from beyond the arc, as Barcelona started to run the game clock down. Zenit kept struggling to score against Barcelona's outstanding defense and Davies sank a mid-range jumper to seal the outcome, 69-46, with 4 minutes remaining.

Pivotal performer

Pau Gasol played his best EuroLeague game since he returned to Barcelona and did it in the most decisive moment. He finished the game with 7 points, 3 rebounds and 3 steals for a PIR of 16. Gasol also had 4 blocks, matching the club's playoff record that Gregor Fucka set against Real Madrid on April 4, 2006.

Game-changing moment

Zenit trailed 23-16 early in the second quarter when Barcelona turned to new go-to guys on offense. Leandro Bolmaro followed an outstanding dunk in traffic with a three-pointer. Kyle Kuric also struck from downtown and Nick Calathes scored in the paint for a 33-18 Barcelona margin. The hosts never looked back after that.

Stellar stat

Barcelona finished the game with 9 blocks, matching the club's playoff record. Barcelona previously had 9 blocks against Real Madrid on April 4, 2006. It tied the second-best mark ever in playoff history; Real also had 9 blocks against Maccabi Tel Aviv on April 12, 2013. Fortitudo Bologna had 11 blocks against Cibona Zagreb on February 8, 2001; Stojan Vrankovic had 10 of those, which is still a EuroLeague's record.

Did you know?

Barcelona has made it to its 15th Final Four and its first since 2014. Since the format was adopted in 1988, Barcelona had never gone this long without a Final Four appearance. Its biggest gap had been three years. Only CSKA Moscow (19) has more Final Four appearances.

Next game

Barcelona is to set to face AX Armani Exchange Milan in one of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague EuroLeague Semifinals at Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany on Friday, May 28. Zenit's outstanding 2020-21 EuroLeague campaign finished with this loss.

Cory Higgins - FC Barcelona - EB20
Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Attendance: 0 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
FC Barcelona23201422
Zenit St Petersburg1416914
End of Quarter1234
FC Barcelona23435779
Zenit St Petersburg14303953
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 18:01 11 5/9   1/2 3 5 8 1 1 2     3 4 15
8 HANGA, ADAM 16:17 7 1/1 1/1 2/2 1   1 1   2     1 1 7
9 BOLMARO, LEANDRO 16:28 7 2/3 1/2     5 5 3   3     4   6
10 SMITS, ROLANDS 15:23     0/1     2 2     1     1   -1
16 GASOL, PAU 17:24 7 3/4   1/1 1 2 3   3   4   2 2 16
18 ORIOLA, PIERRE 3:28       0/2             1     1  
21 ABRINES, ALEX 10:42                   1     1   -2
22 HIGGINS, CORY 29:43 15 3/7 1/3 6/6 1 2 3 1 2 5 1 1 2 6 14
24 KURIC, KYLE 25:23 11 0/1 3/5 2/2   3 3 1   1 1   2 1 11
30 CLAVER, VICTOR 8:49 2 1/1     2   2 1           1 6
33 MIROTIC, NIKOLA 18:27 7 1/3 1/2 2/2   3 3 1 1   1   3 2 9
99 CALATHES, NICK 19:55 12 3/4 2/2     1 1 5 1 2 1   3 1 15
Team             5 5               5
Totals 200:00 79 19/33 9/16 14/17 8 28 36 14 8 17 9 1 22 19 101
        57.6% 56.3% 82.4%
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
Zenit St Petersburg
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 RIVERS, KC 24:02   0/2 0/4     2 2           1   -5
3 ZAKHAROV, DENIS 4:05 1 0/1   1/2 1   1     1       1  
4 PANGOS, KEVIN 31:00 7 2/7 1/5     3 3 10   4   3 2 5 7
7 FRIDZON, VITALY 11:46 4 2/2 0/1   1   1     2     4 2  
9 HOLLINS, AUSTIN 19:59 5 0/3 1/3 2/2   1 1   1     1 1 1 1
10 THOMAS, WILL 26:58 7 1/3 1/1 2/2 2 1 3 1 3 1     1 4 14
12 BARON, BILLY 24:33 9 1/3 2/7 1/2 1 2 3   2 1   2 1 3 5
13 KHVOSTOV, DMITRY 1:37         1   1 1   1     1    
16 TRUSHKIN, VLADISLAV DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
20 ZUBKOV, ANDREY 20:00 6 3/7 0/1   1 2 3           1 2 5
22 POYTHRESS, ALEX 20:06 11 5/11   1/3 5   5   1   1 2 2 3 9
28 BLACK, TARIK 15:54 3 1/4   1/2 3 2 5   1 3   1 5 1 -3
Team           2 2 4               4
Totals 200:00 53 15/43 5/22 8/13 17 15 32 12 8 13 1 9 19 22 37
        34.9% 22.7% 61.5%
Head coach: PASCUAL, XAVI

Head Coaches

FC Barcelona

"I think we set the tone from the first moment. We were very physical, very serious defensively. Offensively, we lacked a little bit of patience, like we spoke at halftime, too many turnovers the whole day. It helped that some of the players really had a very good, calm performance, which got us into some good stuff, and we found some solutions. For sure, this is something to understand for the players, how difficult it is to go to the Final Four. But at the same time, a club like Barcelona has to be there more times, and this is what we will try to do. We will try to build something here and hopefully, we can make it more years in a row."

"Congratulations, first of all, to our players and fans. More importantly to our fans, the Dracs, who supported us here before the game to give a good feeling for the players. One more time, because of this situation, it is a shame that the people cannot be part of such an incredible situation. I think not only the players and coaches live for these moments, but also the fans. I can only imagine how Palau would be today with them. With all my respect, congratulations also to Xavi [Pascual] and Zenit for this amazing season, for an amazing series. I told Xavi after the game that for me, as a young coach, it was really amazing to go to the series against him and to learn and to experience this. It made me a better coach, for sure, for my future. And what was important about the game is that we finally showed our real face. We showed our physicality, our seriousness. It was not perfect, it will never be perfect... It was just a very nice feeling, not just to win and to advance, but also to play good, serious basketball. We need to understand why we couldn't do it in the first four games."

Zenit St Petersburg
"First of all, I want to congratulate FC Barcelona for this win, and I want to wish it all the best in the Final Four. It was one game that, obviously, there was only one team on the court; that was Barcelona. We didn't start well the game. Barcelona took this first small advantage in the first quarter and from here, they started to feel comfortable. They started to feel the game and we didn't find the way to be back at all. Today, clearly, we were not ready for a final like we played today. Nothing to say, only to congratulate my players and the organization for what we have done until now. I think we had an excellent season in the EuroLeague and of course, now that we were in this situation, we wanted to win but obviously, Barcelona is better than us and today, it was extremely clear in one situation like a final. They have more quality, more experience, more physicality, more everything, and it was obvious tonight."


FC Barcelona
"This is the type of effort that it is going to take from now on. I think we have to understand that every game is going to be final, it is going to be the same approach. We have to come out defensively, set the tone, and I think we did a much better job in the second half. Even when we did a good job in the first half, we did a better job in the second half, taking care of the ball, boxing out, those two things. We just kept the intensity up and that is what it is going to take to win. Today, it was a good step forwards for me. I had a good week practicing, had a couple of good weeks practicing, and I just want to continue to feel better, getting in better shape so I can help more and contribute like I did today."
FC Barcelona
"Our defense stepped up. I think we held them to 9 points or something like this in the third quarter, so when our defense is like this, we can make the lead even more, and it is a team effort. If you look at the stats, everybody contributed and we are going to the Final Four! They are a very good team, very well-coached. We knew it was going to be a difficult series. Everyone thought that we were first and it was going to be easy, but they came ready to play, and I have to tip my hat to them. They have some very good players and it is a team that knows how to play, so it was a difficult series but I am glad we came out."