Barcelona thrashes Fenerbahce
In a battle of Turkish Airlines EuroLeague giants, FC Barcelona confirmed its good form by thrashing Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 89-63 at Palau Blaugrana on Wednesday. Barcelona improved to 7-2 in the standings and remained undefeated at home while Fenerbahce dropped to 2-7. Cory Higgins led the winners with 22 points, Alex Abrines added 12, Kyle Kuric had 11 and Brandon Davies and Adam Hanga each got 10 while Nikola Mirotic pulled down 10 rebounds for Barcelona. Joffrey Lauvergne led Fenerbahce with 12 points. Higgins struck three times from downtown in the first quarter, getting help from Mirotic and Ante Tomic to get a double-digit lead, 25-15, after 10 minutes. Kuric and Hanga boosted Barcelona to a 44-30 cushion at halftime. Nothing changed after the break, as the hosts quickly raced to a 58-34 margin and kept a safe lead until the final buzzer.
Rolands Smits got Barcelona going with a wild dunk, which Kostas Sloukas bettered with a triple for a 2-3 Fenerbahce lead. Mirotic and Higgins stepped up for Barcelona, but Lauvergne made a jump hook and Ahmet Duverioglu scored twice in the paint to keep the visitors ahead, 8-9. Higgins struck from downtown and Higgins erased Lauvergne's put-back layup with a driving basket. Lauvergne scored again in the low post, but a red-hot Higgins buried a couple of three-pointers in an 8-0 run that gave the hosts a 21-13 margin. After Nikola Kalinic dunked, Tomic answered with a jump hook and a layup that made it a double-digit game, 25-15, after 10 minutes. Davies took over with a third-chance dunk early in the second quarter which Kuric followed with a tip-in and a huge alley-oop slam for a 31-20 Barcelona margin. Sloukas stepped up with a driving layup and Duverioglu scored again to give Fenerbahce hope at 32-24. Abrines sank a three-pointer and Hanga dunked to restore a 37-24 Barcelona lead. Hanga kept pacing the hosts with a three-pointer, as Lauvergne and Mahmutoglou answered for a 40-28 score. Higgins and Pierre Oriola boosted their team's margin to 44-30 at halftime. Abrines hit another triple right after the break, Ali Muhammed and Higgins traded jumpers and a big basket by Mirotic broke the game open, 51-32. Jan Vesely scored around the basket but he didn't find help around. A three-pointer by Hanga ignited a 7-0 run which Higgins capped with a dunk for a 58-34 Barcelona margin. The hosts kept finding easy shots, as Davies, Malcolm Delaney and Tomic sank respective jumpers to keep Barcelona way ahead, 67-40, after 30 minutes. Luigi Datome and Vladimir Stimac stepped up for Fenerbahce early in the fourth quarter Mahmutoglou struck from downtown, causing Barcelona to call timeout at 71-50. Barcelona did not panic, however, as a big dunk by Davies and back-to-back triples by Kuric and Abrines allowed the hosts to seal the outcome in style.
Cory Higgins had yet another outstanding performance. He needed less than 25 minutes to get 22 points on 3-of-4 two-point shooting, 4-of-8 on three-pointers and 4-of-4 on free throws plus 1 rebound, 3 assists and 2 fouls drawn for a PIR of 22.
A layup by Joffrey Lauvergne tied the game for the last time at 13-13. Higgins buried a couple of three-pointers and Ante Tomic added a jump hook and a layup to give Barcelona its first double-digit lead, 25-15. Fenerbahce never recovered and Barcelona kept full control for good.
Barcelona outrebounded Fenerbahce 39-26, allowing the visitors just 5 offensive boards. Fenerbahce was limited to 23.8% three-point shooting (5 of 21) and missed too many free throws (2 of 10, 20%). The hosts hit 11 of 29 three-pointers (37.9%) and 10 of 11 free throws (90.9%).
Did you notice?
Ekrem Sancakli made his EuroLeague debut with Fenerbahce at Palau Blaugrana. Born on April 26, 2001, Sancakli hit his first shot 20 seconds after stepping on the court and added a triple in the final seconds to finish the game with 5 points.
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action on Friday, November 22. Fenerbahce visits LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne. Barcelona hosts Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv.
Wednesday, November 20, 2019