Barcelona edges Zielona Gora in a thriller
FC Barcelona Lassa registered its first win in Group D by downing Stelmet Zielona Gora 78-71 at home in Group D on Friday. Barcelona improved to 1-1 while Zielona Gora dropped to 0-2, athough the visitors had kept their options alive until the final minute. Samardo Samuels led the winners with 23 points on 8-of-9 two-point shots and 4 blocks. Tomas Satoransky and Juan Carlos Navarro each had 10 points while Shane Lawal pulled down 12 rebounds for Barcelona. Mateusz Ponitka and Dejan Borovnjak led Zielona Gora with 15 points apiece. Vlad Moldoveanu added 14 for the guests, who led 2-12 early and kept a 12-19 lead late in the first quarter. An outstanding Samuels fueled a 18-2 run which gave Barcelona a 30-21 margin, enough for the hosts to keep a 43-37 edge at halftime. An outstanding Navarro hit back-to-back three-pointers for a 64-57 Barcelona margin after 30 minutes but Szymon Szewczyk, Ponitka and Adam Hrycaniuk fueled a 0-9 run which gave Zielona Gora a 66-68 edge in the fourth quarter. It all came down to the final 2 minutes, when a put-back slam by Lawal gave Barcelona the lead for good, 73-72, and a three-pointer by Satoransky sealed the outcome with 45 seconds remaining, allowing Barcelona to get a hard-fought win.
First quarter: Zielona Gora starts strong
Ante Tomic found Stratos Perperoglou for an easy layup that got Barcelona going but a three-pointer by J.R. Reynolds gave Zielona Gora a 2-3 lead. Boronvjak hit free throws and a turnaround jumper by Ponitka gave Zielona Gora a 2-7 lead. Moldoveanu buried a three-pointer and a layup by Reynolds forced Barcelona to call timeout at 2-12. Satoransky stepped up with a three-point play and a mid-range jumper by Perperoglou got Barcelona within 7-12. Moldoveanu and Satoransky exchanged three-pointers and a tip-in by Ponitka kept Zielona Gora way ahead, 10-17. Satoransky and Lawal split free throws and Ponitka scored again in penetration for a 12-19 score. Samuels shined with an off-balance basket and soon scored again to bring Barcelona within 16-19. Ponitka split free throws and an acrobatic three-point play by Pau Ribs kept Barcelona within 19-20 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Samuels rescues Barcelona
Both teams struggled to score early in the second quarter until a three-pointer by Alex Abrines gave Barcelona a 22-20 lead. Samuels soon found Lawal for a backdoor layup, good for a 24-21 Barcelona lead. Samuels then made free throws as Zielona Gora kept struggling to find the way to the basket. Samuels kept pacing Barcelona with more foul shots and a big slam at 30-21, finishing an 18-2 run for the hosts. Borovnjak scored down low and a three-pointer by Carlos Arroyo gave the hosts their first double-digit lead, 33-23. Ponitka split free throws and a three-pointer by Moldoveanu gave Zielona Gora some hope at 33-27. Samuels shined with a huge slam but Moldoveanu followed his fourth three-pointer with free throws for a 35-31 score. Tomic split foul shots ans erased Borovnjak's close basket with a layup. Nemanja Djurisic scored around the basket, Perperoglou and Dee Bost exchanged jumpers and a three-pointer by Sasha Vezenkov fixed the halftime score at 43-37.
Third quarter: Barcelona extends lead
Samuels returned with a block that led to a big layup-plus-free throw and a 46-37 Barcelona lead right after the break. Lawal scored around the basket, too, as Barcelona started pulling offensive boards after getting just 2 before halftime. Ponitka tried to change things with a fastbreak layup that Navarro bettered with a three-pointer, good for a 51-39 Barcelona lead. Bost answered from downtown and a layup-plus-foul by Borovnjak gave Zielona Gora hope at 51-45. Borovnjak scored again to cap an 0-8 visitors' run before Samuels rescued the hosts with free throws. Lukasz Koszarek scored in penetration and Ponitka added a layup that made it a two-point game, 53-51. Arroyo stepped up with a three-pointer and Navarro added another one off the dribble to give Barcelona plenty of fresh air at 59-53. Tomic scored around the basket, Borovnjak hit a mid-range jumper and a jump hook by Djurisic kept Zielona Gora within 61-57. Another triple by Navarro boosted Barcelona's lead to 64-57 after 30 minutes.
Fourth quarter: down to the final minute!
Szewczyk scored down low early in the fourth quarter but Samuels answered with a power layup. Barcelona had started to run down the game tempo, using longer possessions with Arroyo and Ribas in the backcourt. Szewczyk added another layup and soon added a three-pointer from the top of the key that forced Barcelona to stop the game at 66-64. A huge fast break layup by Ponitka tied it up, 66-66, with 6 minutes remaining. Barcelona kept missing shots, as the game tempo belonged to the guests due to their outstanding defense. Then, a close basket by Hrycaniuk let Zielona Gora regain the lead, 66-68, with under 4 minutes left. Barcelona's scoreless streak of 4 minutes ended when Samuels stepped up with a tip-in. Koszarek struck from downtown and a layup by Samuels kept Barcelona within 70-71. Ponitka and Navarro split free throws and Lawal appeared with a huge, two-handed slam that put Barcelona back ahead, 73-72, with 1:19 left. A three-pointer by Satoransky and a big block by Samuels sealed the outcome, 76-72, with 44.5 seconds left.
Friday, October 23, 2015