Regal FC Barcelona sent a message that echoed all around Group A by thrashing Fenerbahce Ulker 59-82 in Istanbul, Turkey on Wednesday. Barcelona survived a tough test and faces end-of-the-table Cibona at Palau Blaugrana next Thursday. Meanwhile, FB Ulker must bounce back right away and faces Asvel Basket at the Astroballe in Lyon, France on Wednesday. Pete Mickeal paced the winners with a Euroleague career-high 26 points and just one shot missed. Ricky Rubio barely missed a double-double with 9 points and 9 assists in his first Euroleague game with Regal FCB - and his 19th birthday. All 11 Barcelona players scored in this game. Willie Solomon had 16 points for Fenerbahce. Oguz Savas added 11 while Lynn Greer got 10 for the hosts, that got their last lead at 5-2. Fran Vazquez and Mickeal led a 0-12 run that gave Barcelona the lead for good. Barcelona kept a 11-19 edge after 10 minutes and boosted its margin to 21-38 at halftime. An outstanding Mickeal led a 1-16 run that broke the game open and sealed the outcome, 38-62, at the end of the third quarter. FB Ulker did not recover, allowing Barcelona to add a very convincing road win.
Rubio got Barcelona going with a driving basket but Solomon immediately answered from downtown and soon added a six-meter jumper for a 5-2 FB Ulker lead. Mickeal stepped up with a jump hook, as Barcelona tried to attack the basket in the early going. Erazem Lorbek shined with a jump hook while Vazquez added a baseline jumper to give the guests a 5-8 lead. Fener kept missing open shots and could not get Gordan Giricek involved. Meanwhile, Mickeal sank free throws while Vazquez followed another five-meter jumper with an incredible one-handed alleyoop dunk that made the hosts call timeout at 5-14, after a 0-12 run. Omer Asik scored in the low post but a red hot Mickeal buried a big three-pointer and added a jumper to keep the guests way ahead, 8-19. Solomon tried to change things with an outstanding three-point play, but he only managed to bring FB Ulker within 11-19 after 10 minutes.
Asik kept pacing FB Ulker with a put-back jump hook - and the free throw that came with it but Gianluca Basile came off a screen to sink his trademark 'tiro morbido' from way downtown. Victor Sada soon added a layup in transition to give Barcelona its first double-digit lead, 14-24. FB Ulker tried to run its offense through Solomon without much success. Semih Erden and Mickeal traded free throws but Barcelona kept excelling in defense, with outstanding intensity at both ends. The guests has started to miss easy shots and called a much-needed timeout to improve their offense. Basile hit a free throw while a layup by Terence Morris and a three-pointer by Rubio broke the game open, 17-32. Savas scored around the basket but free throws by Rubio and a layup by Lorbek made it a 16-point game, 20-36. Free throws by Oguz Savas, Asik, Juan Carlos Navarro and Roger Grimau fixed the halftime score at 21-38.
Mickeal followed a big basket with a backdoor layup to keep Barcelona way ahead, 23-42, immediately after the break. Rasim Basak tried to ignite the hosts' comeback with a triple but Navarro silenced the crowd with a fallaway jumper. Kinsey took over with a second-chance layup and Asik scored again, as FB Ulker improved its defensive intensity. A running jumper by Tarence Kinsey gave the hosts some hope, 32-44, midway through this period. Mickeal - who else? - sank another jumper but Solomon answered from downtown to make Barcelona call timeout at 35-46. Mickeal scored in transition and Lorbek added a layup to keep the guests out of trouble at 35-50. FB Ulker had entered the foul bonus and Navarro, Mickeal and Sada sank free throws, as the hosts could not find the way to the basket. Vazquez followed a tip-in with a high-flying aleyoop dunk while free throws by Mickeal capped a 1-16 run and boosted Barcelona's margin to 38-62 after three quarters.
Giricek downed a three-pointer early in the fourth period but Barcelona stayed focused and kept full control of the game to avoid any kind of unexpected problems. Morris made free throws and soon added consecutive layups for a 43-68 margin midway through the fourth quarter. Everything was said and done already, as all Barcelona superstars were resting on the bench. Fenerbahce kept trying once the outcome was clear but it kept missing open shots. Jordi Trias took over with a layup-plus-foul and a layup by Boni Ndong allowed Barcelona to have all players in the scorers' list. Barcelona left the court confirming its status to win it all next season while FB Ulker must improve right away to achieve its high goals in this 2009-10 Euroleague season.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009