Barcelona overpowered Peristeri in the only Group B game on Wednesday. Barcelona continued to show their impressive offense and why they are the leading scorers in their group with a 72-101 victory. Ademola Okulaja set the pace for the winners, but by the early second half, the visitors' leads surpassed 25 points and the scoring show took precedent over an outcome that was already accepted. The win moved Barcelona into a potential tie for first place with a record of 7-3, depending on the outcome of tomorrow night's games. In an incredibly tight battle for positioning to make the Top 16, four teams in Group B are tied with a record of 6-3. Peristeri dropped to 2-8 with the loss and continues to struggle against the stronger teams in their group.
Unstoppable by any defense Peristeri put on him, Ademola Okulaja led Barcelona from the very first moment of the game. The German power forward scored 11 of the first 19 points of the visitors, good enough to give the Spanish side the early edge. After six minutes, Barcelona was already nine points ahead, 7-16. Then Peristeri, which played without Michael Andersen and Alexis Papadatos - both injured - cut the margin to four, at 12-16, but the superiority of Barcelona in every level of the game was clear. Juan Carlos Navarro hit a three-pointer to open again the gap again to 14-22, and after the third personal foul on Manolis Papamakarios, Barcelona pushed the lead to double-digits at 16-26. One more Peristeri bucket ended the quarter at 18-26.
Even though Okulaja didn't score a single points during the second quarter, Barcelona stayed the boss of the game. Sarunas Jasikevicius hit two consecutive three-pointers to push the lead back up past 10, at 24-36, halfway through the period. Adam Wojcik tried to help Peristeri in recovering, but no chance. With 7 for 15 three point shots and only five turnovers Barcelona had always the control of the game,against a team which shot 1 for 7 from the three point line and has already committed 12 turnovers. So, despite the big gap under the boards, as Peristeri grabbed double rebounds (20 against 10) than Barcelona, the host team concluded the first half with a 10 points lead, 36-46. Okulaja was the best scorer of his team with 11 points, followed by Jasikevicius (6), Efthimis Rentzias (5) and Juan Navarro (5). Wojcik led Peristeri, with 13 points, Kostas Tsartsaris added 6 and Byron Dinkins 5.
The third quarter was nothing but show for Barcelona. With a great defense, an outstanding passing game to find any time the open man, the usual fastbreaks and a lot of alternatives on offense, the Spanish team just glided away from Peristeri. Okulaja scored 10 fast and easy points, Navarro hit four three-pointers, Rodrigo De la Fuente and Efthimios Rentzias joined the fun to give Barcelona a 27-point lead at the end of the third period (45-72). Peristeri seemed unable to react against a really unstoppable team.
Nothing changed in the last quarter, as Barcelona continued to deliver showtime. Peristeri captain Manolis Papamakarios tried to push his team, just for honor, and he managed to score 16 points in 10 minutes, but his effort had no result. From the other side, Arturas Karnisovas came up big, scoring 11 points in the last quarter and became one among the four players of Barcelona with double figures. After 39 minutes of playing, the margin opened to 38 points (61-99) and nine seconds before the end of the game Alain Digbeu gave his team the right to surpass 100 points.
Wednesday, January 9, 2002