Barcelona, Rice set club assists marks in vital win
FC Barcelona Lassa set a new club record with 30 assists while never trailing in a no-doubt-about it 89-75 win over visiting EA7 Emporio Armani Milan on Friday night. Victory improved Barcelona to a 6-8 record, while Milan dropped to 4-10, extending its losing streak to seven games. Behind the masterful play of point guard Tyrese Rice and unstoppable big man Ante Tomic, Barcelona needed only a half of the first quarter to open a double digit lead, and never looked back with its offense running on all cylinders for three quarters. Tomic finished with 19 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks in only 21 minutes on the floor, and Rice had 10 points while matching the club’s EuroLeague record with 11 assists. Petteri Koponen shone behind the arc, matching his career-high with 5 of 7 shooting for 15 points. For Milan, Rakim Sanders had 27 points on 5-for-9 from long range. Milan Macvan chipped in with 11 points, while Ricky Hickman had 8 points and 8 assists in defeat.
Tomic scored 11 of Barcelona’s first 15 points, mostly using feeds from Rice. When the big man returned the favor, dishing one himself for a Rice triple, the hosts jumped to an 18-6 lead after 6 minutes. With Hickman running the offense, and Jamel McLean and Macvan finishing inside, the visitors got going, but Koponen hit a pair of threes and Juan Carlos Navarro nailed one, too, extending the lead to 15 points, 32-17. In the second quarter, Sanders had a three-point play for the visitors, but Koponen buried two more shots from downtown to keep the margin at 15 points. Tomic added a block and a steal to his tally, also launching a fast break that Alex Renfroe finished with a dunk and it was 47-30 with 3 minutes to go in first half. Sanders had five points on the other end, but the hosts kept control and went into halftime up 49-35. Tomic, Rice and Navarro were facilitators of Barcelona’s offense at the start of the third quarter, dishing assists for each other’s baskets. Rice and Navarro each nailed a triple, and Tomic had a dunk that opened up a 59-39 lead. Zoran Dragic had 6 points for the visitors, and Sanders and Hickman also scored, but the hosts never allowed Milan any kind of a significant run, cruising to its sixth win of the EuroLeague campaign.
Friday, December 23, 2016