And the upsets continue! Peristeri of Greece chose a dramatic way of picking up its first Euroleague victory of the season, by knocking off one of the Group B's biggest contenders, Barcelona, 73-77 on the road Thursday night. Peristeri was down 11 points in the third quarter but put 32 on the board in the last 10 minutes to stun Barcelona, which had controlled the game most of the way, and its home crowd. The heroes for the visitors were Adam Wojcik with 28 points and Byron Dinkins with 23 points, but a Michael Andersen rebound and dunk in the final minute was the shot that ensured victory. Peristeri raised its record to 1-2, the same record as Barcelona, which is now in hot water for having lost two consecutive home games. Sarunas Jasikevicius led Barcelona with 18 points and Ademola Okulaja added 11, but neither did much damage after the first two quarters.
Jasikevicius had 8 early points and Okulaja 4 as Barcelona shot ahead 12-7 despite three quick turnovers by Roberto Dueñas. Peristeri busied itself missing one three-pointer after another, but when it got the ball inside, to Adam Wojcic and Michael Anderson, was able to hold within 16-13. Barcelona took off again with a series of easy baskets underneath, two of them by Alain Digbeu, to lead 24-15. Okulaja was already up to 10 points. Now, however, Byron Dinkis was able to save Peristeri with his second three-pointer, this one at the buzzer, that brought the visitors within 24-18.
Peristeri continued its mistakes in the second quarter, throwing passes to defenders and dropping rebounds, but somehow got even closer, at 25-24. That's before the visitors insisted again on shooting quickly, including several more three-pointers that missed, and whose rebounds Barcelona turned into fastbreaks. A Juan Carlos Navarro three-point play seemed to be the definitive break as the lead hit 35-26, but in the final threee minutes, Barcelona relaxed again. Peristeri went back inside with the ball and scored five straight points, even got to the foulline for three of those points. Like that, Peristeri was back in the game at 36-31 for the half.
Again in the third quarter, Barcelona seemed to have too many weapons for Peristeri, which also returned to missing opportunities. With Karnisovas driving and passing, Navarro and Jasikevicius connecting from downtown, the lead climbed to 44-36 first and then to a game-high, after five minutes, of 49-38. Only another end-of-quarter toss-in by Dinkins kept the deficit down to 9 points, 47-38, as the final quarter loomed. Everything was to change in that last period. Three baskets from Wojcik and one from Dinkins made it clear that Perister wasn't there to give up. It was suddenly 57-53 and a couple minutes later, there was Wojcik rising up for a three.pointer that finally gave his team the lead at 59-61 with 5:24 to go. Both teams traded baskets, but when Pantazopulos scored a three-pointer with 2:00 to go, the visitors' lead was 66-70 with 2 minutes to go. Wojcik extended the lead to six 68-74 and the upset was complete.
Thursday, October 25, 2001