FC Barcelona Regal defeated Bennet Cantu 62-63
Group H game report: Bennet Cantu 62-63 FC Barcelona Regal
FC Barcelona Regal advanced to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Playoffs by winning a tough battle at Bennet Cantu 62-63 to remain undefeated at 5-0 in the Top 16 Group H and eliminate Cantu. Barcelona came back from a 6-point fourth quarter deficit for the win, which also carried Maccabi Electra into the last eight. Boniface Ndong scored 13 points and all-time leading scorer Juan Carlos Navarro hit for 12 points, including the game-winning free throws with 26 seconds remaining for Barcelona. Erazem Lorbek chipped in 10 points and Xavier Rabaseda added 8 points. Cantu, which was playing without injured leader Vladimir Micov, dropped to 2-3 in the group despite 14 points and 8 rebounds from Giorgi Shermadini. Doron Perkins collected 12 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals in his return from a serious knee injury in last season’s Playoffs. Greg Brunner chipped in 8 points and 7 rebounds off the bench for Cantu, which was hurt by making just 5 of 11 free throws compared to 16 of 21 for Barcelona.
Pete Mickeal opened the scoring for Barcelona with a steal and coast-to-coast lay-up which Gianluca Basile answered with a long jumper to make it 2-2. Barcelona went ahead 2-5 on Ndong’s jumper before Manuchar Markoishvili and Rabaseda swapped three-pointers and the guests were up 5-10 following Marcelinho Huertas’s driving lay-up on the break. Shermadini made two baskets to trim the gap to 9-10. Barcelona however scored six straight points on a Kosta Perovic dunk, a Victor Sada lay-in off the glass and a Navarro floater in the lane, causing Cantu coach Andrea Trinchieri to call a timeout with his team trailing 9-16. The host side stormed back with a 9-2 run with Maarten Leunen dunking after a steal and then nailing a three-pointer before Perkins hit a jumper following a steal to knot the game at 18-18 with his first points of the 2011-12 Turkish Airlines Euroleague season. Barcelona coach Xavi Pascual called a timeout but neither side scored the rest of the first quarter.
Fran Vazquez put Barcelona on the scoring sheet first to start the second quarter with a turnaround jumper and Perovic’s basket made it 18-22. Cantu could not find any offensive rhythm in the second quarter and did not score until Leunen’s inside basket with 5:50 left in the first half to trim the margin to 20-22. It was 21-22 after Andrea Cinciarini’s free throw before Vazquez threw down a dunk off a Huertas assist for a 21-24 advantage. Brunner got in front of the defense for a dunk and then Basile evened the game on two free throws to make it 25-25. And then Perkins nailed a jumper after another steal to give Cantu its first lead 27-25. Brunner’s energy kept Cantu up with an offensive rebound and put-back for a 29-26 advantage. Lorbek however answered with two foul shots and a jumper to give Barcelona the lead back 29-30. Shermadini’s jumper allowed the hosts to reclaim the lead 31-30 before Navarro made two free throws and then a wide open triple for a 31-35 Barcelona cushion. Perkins got into the lane and passed off to Brunner for an inside lay-up and a 33-35 halftime score.
Basile gave Cantu the lead to start the second half with a triple before Lorbek hit a tough inside shot and Ndong completed a three-point play for a 36-40 lead. Leunen put back an offensive rebound and Markoishvili put the hosts ahead 41-40 on a three-ball. But Cantu turned the ball over four straight possessions and Barcelona opened a 41-46 cushion on two Mickeal fast break scores and two Ndong free throws. Shermadini ended the drought with a dunk down the lane for a 43-46 score and Perkins tied the game 46-46 with a trey from the left side. And then Barcelona coach Pascual called a timeout after Shermadini’s hook shot for a 48-46 Cantu lead. Rabaseda hit his second three-ball of the night to put Barcelona back ahead but Shermadini gave Cantu the lead back 50-49. Ndong made one free throw to tie the game again and Rabaseda’s jumper had Barcelona ahead 50-52 after three quarters.
Cantu came up with a great start to the fourth quarter with three-pointers by Mazzarino and Perkins and then a Brunner dunk for a 58-52 lead and a timeout for Barcelona – which did not score until Navarro’s free throws with 7:07 remaining to make it 58-54. Ndong hit a tough basket inside and then dunked to even the game 58-58 with four minutes to play. Cantu could still not score as they settled for long range shots and Ndong’s free throw continued the run and Lorbek’s reverse lay-up completed the 0-9 run for a 58-61 run. Perkins stepped up and hit a lay-up to snap a 5:25 scoreless stretch and then Shermadini made two foul shots for a 62-61 Cantu lead with 40 seconds left. Navarro made two free throws with 26 seconds remaining for a 62-63 Barcelona lead before Basile’s potential game-winning jumper from the right baseline went off the front of the rim and out just before the final buzzer.
Thursday, February 23, 2012