Regal FC Barcelona remained perfect in Group A by seeing off stubborn Asvel Basket 76-62 on Wednesday at the Palau Blaugrana. Barca improved to 4-0, setting up a mouth-watering showdown with fellow Group A unbeaten, Montepaschi Siena in Week 5. Asvel fell to 0-4 despite an inspired effort and will seek its first win when it meets Cibona next. The game was close for 30 minutes, with Asvel leading 52-53 late in the third quarter. But Victor Sada put Barca ahead for good, Boni NDong scored twice more and Juan Carlos Navarro hit back-to-back threes to cap a 12-2 run early in the fourth quarter as Barca pulled away for the win. Pete Mickeal paced the winners with 16 points, Navarro scored 15 and NDong had 12. Ali Traore led Asvel with 20 points and 8 rebounds and Bobby Dixon scored 11 in defeat.
Mindaugas Lukauskis fed Traore for a basket plus foul to open the scoring before Mickeal got Barca on the scoreboard with a basket on the offensive glass. Dixon and Laurent Foirest drilled three-pointers as Asvel charged to a 4-9 lead. NDong scored down low and Mickeal hit from downtown as Barca trimmed the gap to 9-11 only to see baskets by Traore and Foirest keep the visitors in control. NDong stayed hot, but was matched by Lukauskis and Eric Campbell. Ben Dewar struck from downtown to increase the lead to 15-22. However Mickeal came through with a layup and a pair of free throws to make it 19-22 after 10 minutes.
Erazem Lorbek started the second quarter in style with a basket-plus-foul to tie the score at 22-22. Victor Samnick countered with a basket, but Jaka Lakovic fed a cutting Fran Vazquez, who was fouled and sank 2 free throws. Another 2 free throws by Lorbek put Barca ahead, but Traore scored in the paint to tie the game once more. Lorbek added 2 more from the line as did Roger Grimau, but Lukauskis counterd with a triple and Traore scored down low to put Asvel back on top. Navarro drilled a three, but another Traore basket tied the game at 33-33. Ricky Rubio scored his first points from the line, however Foirest kept it knotted. Traore scored again, but Rubio’s steal and layup made it 37-37. Aymeric Jeanneau’s left-handed layup was met by a Mickeal free throw before Rubio drilled a three in the closing seconds of the half to make it 41-39 at the break.
Traore opened the second half with a short jumper that tied the score once more. Vazquez made a baby hook only to see Traore fly in for another basket. Lorbek drove around Samnick for a basket-plus-foul, but Dixon hit from downtown at the other end. Vazquez sank a free throw to knot the score once more. Rubio connected with Mickeal on the break to put Barca up 50-48, however Dixon connected with his third triple as Avel went ahead again. Navarro and Dixon traded scores before Victor Sada put Barca back on top. A pair of NDong baskets down low saw the hosts jump to 58-53, leading to an Asvel timeout. However the visitors were unable to answer before the end of the quarter.
Dewar narrowed the gap to 3 again at the start of the fourth quarter, but Lakovic answered from the line and NDong dunked on the offensive glass. A Grimau steal and slam extended the lead to 9 as Barcelona started to pull away. Lukauskis hit back from the line, but the long arms of NDong and Terence Morris intimidated the Asvel scorers and Navarro game the hosts their first double-digit lead when he struck from downtown. Now feeling hot, Navarro drained another three to take the lead to 13 with two minutes remaining. Dewar tried to ignite a late charge, but Mickeal scored in the paint to ensure another home win for Barcelona.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009