Barcelona hands Montepaschi first Top 16 loss
FC Barcelona Regal grabbed its fourth consecutive Top 16 Group F victory by topping previously undefeated Montepaschi Siena 85-66 at home on Thursday. The two teams are now tied atop the group's standings, each with a 5-1 record. Caja Laboral Vitoria has the chance to join them if it beats BC Khimki Moscow Region on Friday. The Italian champs hung around early, but reserve Xavi Rabaseda reeled off 10 second-quarter points and got plenty of help from Ante Tomic and an outstanding Marcelinho Huertas as the hosts grabbed 48-29 halftime lead and never looked back. Tomic led the winners with 20 points and 5 assists, Rabaseda finished with 16 points, Nate Jawai netted 11 and Marcelinho Huertas tallied 10 points and 5 assists. Bobby Brown paced Siena with 19 points and 4 assists, Daniel Hackett scored 14 and Benjamin Eze 12.
First quarter: Early run puts Barcelona ahead
Kristjan Kangur fed Benjamin Eze for a dunk that got Montepaschi going. Marcelinho Huertas hit a running jumper and a backdoor layup by Joe Ingles soon gave Barcelona its first lead, 4-2. Huertas kept pushing Barcelona with a three-point play, which capped a 7-0 run. Eze split free throws, Ante Tomic scored down low, but a long jumper by Bobby Brown kept Montepaschi within 9-5. Tomic and David Moss traded baskets, as Barcelona tried to get its big men involved. Huertas fed Tomic for an easy layup. Barcelona held Montepaschi scoreless for more than three minutes. Meanwhile, Huertas downed his trademark running jumper to cause the guests to call timeout at 15-7. Eze returned to the floor and immediately delivered with a close basket. He soon found Brown for a wide open three-pointer that brought Montepaschi within 15-12. After Sarunas Jasikevicius swished a five-meter jumper, Eze and Nate Jawai traded free throws. A layup by Pete Mickeal gave Barcelona a 20-13 lead after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Barca takes off behind big baskets by Rabaseda
Jawai made free throws early in the second quarter, as Montepaschi struggled to find the way to the basket. Barcelona tried twin point guards with Jasikevicius and Victor Sada together on court, as Jawai kept pacing the hosts with a put-back layup that made it a double-digit game, 24-13. Aleksandar Rasic struck from downtown. Tomic hit a jump hook, but Daniel Hackett followed a driving layup with free throws to keep Montepaschi within 26-20. Xavi Rabaseda downed a three-pointer. Kangur shined with a high-flying tip-in. A three-point play by Lorbek boosted the hosts' lead to 32-22. Rabaseda and Moss exchanged triples and a close basket by Ante Tomic kept Barcelona way ahead, 37-25. Rabaseda ignited the crowd with an alley-oop slam and soon added a fast break layup that broke the game open, 41-25. Mickeal made free throws and Huertas swished a seven-meter bomb, but Brown kept Montepaschi within 46-29. A layup by Lorbek fixed the halftime score at 48-29.
Third quarter: Tomic, Wallace keep the hosts way ahead
Kangur tried to ignite a Montepaschi comeback with a fast break layup just after the break. Tomic stepped up with a basket inside, which Hackett erased with a reverse layup. Tomic stayed unstoppable with a jump hook and matched Eze's four-meter jumper with yet another basket, good for a 54-35 Barcelona lead. The hosts started to use longer possessions, trying to find open shots or to feed Tomic down low. C.J. Wallace struck from downtown and erased Hackett's acrobatic layup with a baseline jumper. Mickeal and Hackett scored in penetration, as Barcelona kept powering the offensive boards and running the game clock down. Mickeal added a wild driving layup off the baseline. Brown made free throws and a three-point play by Jasikevicius gave Barcelona a 25-point lead. Matt Janning nailed a jumper, Hackett made free throws and a layup by Viktor Sanikidze brought Montepaschi within 66-47. Free throws by Tomic created a 68-47 Barcelona lead after 30 minutes.
Fourth quarter: Barcelona seals big home win
Brown took over with a left-handed floating layup early in the fourth quarter, as Barcelona kept trying to find Tomic and Lorbek around the basket. Jasikevicius nailed a catch-and-shoot three-pointer, but Rasic answered from downtown to make it 71-51. Tomic scored again and Montepaschi called timeout at 73-52 with seven minutes to go. The outcome was already clear, but both teams kept fighting for point difference, which could be a critical issue later on. Janning scored around the basket, Rabaseda buried a triple and Eze kept the guests within 76-56. Brown downed a rainbow three-pointer, but when Rabaseda answered from downtown, everything was said and done. Barcelona had added a big home win and Montepaschi saw its winning streak disappear.
Thursday, January 31, 2013