| Regal FC Barcelona became the Group B champion and clinched a top-seeded spot in the upcoming Top 16 Draw by downing Asseco Prokom 64-76 in Sopot, Poland on Wednesday night. Barcelona improved to 7-1 and clinched first place to its tie-break advantage against Montepaschi Siena and Panathinaikos, who face each other tomorrow. Meanwhile, Prokom dropped to 2-7 but keeps its Top 16 chances alive in a direct fight against Zalgiris Kaunas and Sluc Nancy. Roger Grimau and Ersan Ilyasova paced the winners each with 14 points while David Andersen added 12 for Barcelona. Ilyasova added 10 rebounds for a double-double. David Logan had 19 points for Prokom, Pat Burke added 13 and Daniel Ewing got 11. Logan and Ewing helped Prokom to get a 20-12 edge after 10 minutes. A turnaround jumper by Burke gave Prokom its biggest lead, 25-15. Andersen and an outstanding Grimau fueled a mamooth 0-18 run that allowed Barcelona to get a 35-40 halftime margin. A layup by Ronnie Burrell gave Prokom its last lead, 44-40. Fran Vazquez and Gianluca Basile rescued Barcelona while a layup by Andersen made it a double-digit game, 48-58, after 30 minutes. Prokom did not recover in the fourth quarter, allowing Barcelona to win Group B in style.
Regal FCB coach Xavi Pascual shocked everyone by placing little-used forward Jordi Trias in the starting lineup. Ilyasova got the guests going with a corner
triple but Ewing answered from downtown for a 3-3 tie. Logan fired in a five-meter jumper, as Barcelona did not manage to adjust its defense. Meanwhile, Trias nailed a three-pointer but a power basket by Koko Archibong restored a 7-6 Prokom edge. Prokom had started to miss open shots but Barcelona lacked ball circulation. Logan took over with a reverse layup coming off the baseline and then followed Archibong's driving layup with a fast break dunk, making Barcelona call timeout at 13-6, after a 8-0 Prokom run. Ilyasova shined with a put-back layup that Logan matched with a long two-pointer. Andersen made free throws but Filip Dylewicz answered with a put-back dunk. A floating layup by Grimau against the hosts' zone defense and a dunk-and-foul by Przemyslaw Zamojski fixed the score at 20-12 after 10 minutes.
Jaka Lakovic buried a seven-meter bomb right at the start of the second quarter but Burke copied him in the other end and added a turnaround jumper to give
Prokom its first double-digit lead, 25-15. Barcelona found a go-to guy in Andersen, who followed a jumper with a three-pointer to make Prokom call timeout at
25-20. Prokom lost control in offense, while free throws by Andre Barrett and consecutive layups by Grimau put Barcelona back ahead, 25-26. Ilyasova shined with a high-flying tip-in while Grimau added a three-point play, as Prokom kept struggling to score. Lubos Barton provided a highlight with a monster put-back dunk that capped a 0-18 Barcelona run. Prokom missed 5 shots and committed 5 turnovers until Zamojski buried a corner triple. Grimau made free throws and scored in penetration for a 30-37 score. Logan struck from downtown but Ilyasova answered with his second three-pointer. A driving layup by Logan got Prokom within 35-40 at halftime.
Logan came off a screen to bury a wild jumper right after the break. He followed it with free throws while Ewing added a triple to put the hosts back ahead, 42-40. Burrell capped a 9-0 run with a layup but Barcelona improved its defense while back-to-back dunks by Vazquez tied it at 44-44. Prokom called timeout to adjust its offense but a corner triple by Basile put Barcelona back ahead, 44-47. The guests had improved their intensity at both ends with Vazquez and Andersen together on court. Andersen nailed his trademark turnaround jumper to beat Prokom's zone defense, capping a 0-9 Barcelona run. Prokom could not find the way to the basket while Basile struck again from downtown to make it a seven-point game, 45-52. Victor Sada fed Barton for a fast break layup but Ewing answered with a three-pointer to give Prokom some hope at 48-54. Daniel Santiago shined with a jump hook while a layup by Andersen gave Barcelona a double-digit lead, 48-58, after 30 minutes.
Prokom needed a quick comeback to return to the game and Burke tried to ignite it with a three-point play early in the fourth quarter. Prokom was more aggressive in defense now but Ilyasova silenced the crowd with a triple that hit the rim, went up and fell down. Andersen soon gave Barcelona a 51-62 lead with under 7 minutes remaining. Burrell sank free throws while Ewing fed Burke behind-the-back for a layup. Basile, however, fired in another three-pointer to restore a double-digit Barcelona lead, 55-65. Time was running out of Prokom and Zamojski stepped up with a wild driving layup that Barrett bettered with one from downtown. Barcelona had already to use long possessions once the outcome was clear. By the time Barrett nailed another triple, Barcelona was already celebrating a key win, as the Spanish powerhouse will enter the Top 16 Draw as a regular season champion.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009