Winterthur FC Barcelona had to battle for all 40 minutes to open Group C with a victory by edging Elan Bearnais Pau-Orthez 66-72 on the road on Wednesday. Barcelona earned its third straught road win in Pau since 2003 the hard way, struggling back from consistent deficits to take over in the final quarter. Juan Carlos Navarro led the winners with 23 points while Jordi Trias posted a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds. Michael Bauer had 17 points for Pau, Michael Wright added 14, while Ricardo Greer added 11 points. Pau led 38-33 at halftime and 52-49 after 30 minutes. A three-pointer by Gianluca Basile gave Barcelona a 55-56 edge and the guests never trailed from that point. Jaka Lakovic sealed the win with 7 points in a 2-11 run that allowed the guests to guard the victory at the finish.
Ian Mahinmi opened the scoring with a power layup and soon dunked in traffic to get Pau off to a good start. Thierry Rupert then hit a six-meter jumper in transition for a 6-1 Pau lead. Rodrigo De La Fuente finally got Barcelona going with a three-pointer but Aaron Miles answered with a layup and C.C. Harrison beat the shot clock buzzer with a seven-meter triple to keep Pau ahead, 11-4. Barcelona kept missing open shots and entered the foul bonus midway through this period, but the guests found a go-to guy in Fran Vazquez. His free throws and blocked shot against Rupert let Jordi Trias score twice as Barcelona got within 13-11. Pau called timeout, but after it, Navarro tied the score on a layup, after which Bauer and Trias sent the lead back and forth. It was still tied when Bauer and Xane D'Almeida finished the quarter with back-to-back triples that put Pau in charge at 23-17.
Barcelona struck first in the second quarter, with Navarro driving again, but Pau was ready with the Wright answer. The newly-signed forward started going hard to the basket, and despite Gianluca Basile's triple for Barcelona, led Pau on an 11-3 run to a 34-22 lead, scoring 9 of those points himself. Navarro started Barcelona back with a three-point strike, but Mahinmi kept Pau's lead at double-digits, 36-26, with another dunk. Navarro was the man now, however, draining free throws before tossing in another shot from downtown. Bauer stopped the bleeding with a jumper for Pau, but Denis Marconato finished the half with a dunk, pulling Barcelona within 38-33.
Britton Johnsen extended Pau's lead to start the second half, but Navarro picked up where he left off, drilling a shot from deep. Barcelona stayed on Pau's heels after that, even coming as close as 41-40 after a pair of baskets by Marconato. But the hosts never backed down. Bauer's triple and driving layup pushed the advantage up to 46-40, which seemed a better cusion until Barcelona tightened its defense. As Pau struggled to score, Navarro, Trias and Basile put together a 0-7 run to give the visitors their first lead of the game, 46-47. Pau didn't buckle, however, as Ricardo Greer took the lead back with a layup, while Wright and Bauer finished the quarter with baskets to keep the hosts ahead, 52-49 after 30 minutes.
Wright extended Pau's edge to open the final quarter, but Roko-Leni Ukic and Navarro quickly got Barcelona back to within one again, and soon Basile was burying a shot from the arc to put the guests back in front, 55-56. Greer answers immediately with a dunk to re-take the lead for Pau, and only a Marconato free throw fell over the next couple minutes, tying the scoreboard at 57-57. When that knot was finally untied, it was all Barcelona. Lakovic sparked a 2-11 takeover blast with two layups and a three-pointer. Navarro ended that run with a driving basket, then he and Lakovic added free throws down the stretch to keep Pau from reacting before the clock ran out on a big road win for Barcelona.