Regal FCB beat Lietuvos Rytas 69-55
Regal FC Barcelona bounced back from its first loss by downing Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius 69-55 on Thursday at Palau Blaugrana in the Game of the Week. Pete Mickeal scored 16 and Kosta Perovic added 12 as part of a well-balanced Barcelona attack helping the defending champs improve to 3-1 and remaining just one win behind Group C leader Fenerbahce Ulker. Barca is now tied with Montepaschi Siena for second place, but meets the Italian champ in Italy next week. After a low-scoring, defensive first quarter, Barcelona opened up a 34-25 lead at the break and held on the rest of the way. Terence Morris added 10 points for the winners. Milko Bjelica scored 13 to lead L. Rytas, while Jonas Valanciunas, Igor Milosevic and Khalid El-Amin added 10 each. L. Rytas will hunt for its first victory of the season against fellow winless side Cibona at home next week.
The hosts jumped out to an early lead as Boni Ndong and Erazem Lorbek scored down low. L. Rytas came right back through El-Amin to tie the game at 4-4. The physical defenses from both teams took over and neither side scored for several minutes. Roger Grimau picked up 2 early fouls and Pete Mickeal came in and he eventually came through with Barca’s next basket. Juan Carlos Navarro tried to rev up the champs, but soon Fran Vazquez committed his third foul and Valanciunas converted the three-point play to knot the score at 8-8. Ricky Rubio set Mickeal up, however Valanciunas got to the line again and El-Amin got the visitors their first lead, 10-11, at the end of the opening quarter.
El-Amin started the second quarter with a layup that put L. Rytas ahead by 3. Perovic and Martynas Gecevicius traded baskets and then a Morris score was matched by Bjelica from the line as the visitors kept their slim lead. Perovic took over inside with a basket on one possession and a slam on the next as Barcelona regained the lead. Mickeal connected from downtown and Perovic added a free throw to complete a 10-0 run. Bajramovic ended the L. Rytas drought, but Navarro came back with a triple to make it 27-19. A Milosevic layup and a basket on the offensive glass from Valanciunas closed the gap to 27-23 only for Navarro to hit a second three while points from Ndong and Mickeal gave Barcelona its first double-digit lead. El-Amin could only narrow the deficit to 34-25 at the break.
Ricky Rubio finally got on the scoreboard with a triple to open the second half and Lorbek stretched the lead to 14. Valanciunas answered for the visitors, but Perovic bettered him with a basket-plus Valanciunas’s third foul. Gecevicius’s triple was L. Rytas’s first of the game and a Kenan Bajramovic slam kept his team within 10. Roger Grimau and Rubio pushed Barca up to 14 again. Gecevicius connected again from downtown to try and ignite a little run, but soon Victor Sada fed Morris for an alley-oop slam as the crowd roared. At the other end, Valanciunas went through Fran Vazquez on his way to the basket and was called for an offensive foul – his fifth. At the other end, a Morris three gave the hosts a 51-37 lead at the end of the quarter.
Bjelica was L. Rytas’s most reliable offensive option at this point and he got to the line and scored inside on three consecutive possession, but baskets by Jaka Lakovic, Mickeal kept the hosts in control. Milosevic brought the visitors within 11, but Ndong and Mickeal made it 60-45 in no time. Even though Bjelica continued to pick up points, a Morris three just about sealed the outcome and a Lorbek slam in the final minute was a final highlight as Barcelona walked away with its third win of the season.
Thursday, November 11, 2010