Winterthur FC Barcelona remained one of the only three unbeaten teams in the regular season so far, as it added a new home win on Thursday against Eldo Napoli by 91-71. In the first half, Napoli resisted and even dominated the score at certain moments, but in the third and fourth periods, the defense of the hosts shut Napoli's offense down while Barca saw how baskets by Juan Carlos Navarro and and unsportsmanlike foul that produced 5 straight points including a triple by Jaka Lakovic, allowed them to pull away at ease to cruise to the final victory. With the win, Barcelona is sole leader in Group C with a 4-0 record, while Napoli drops to 1-3. Navarro led the way for the winners with 20 points, Denis Marconato added 13 and Jordi Trias posted 10 in a complete performance rounded by 6 boards and 6 assists. Jeff Trepagnier and Thierre Brown had 13 apiece for Napoli while Jay Larranaga followed them with 11 including 3 of 3 triples.
Eldo Napoli started with a 0-6 after Ansu Sesay's triple, but the hosts soon tied the game with three fast baskets capped by Fran Vazquez. Jaka Lakovic put Barcelona ahead for the first time with a triple. The defenses pushed hard, and the score stayed close when Jordi Trias and Vazquez matched Cittadini and Brown to make it 19-16. Jay Larranaga lifted for a triple, but it was Gianluca Basile who put an end to the first quarter with a 20-10 Barcelona lead.
Matteo Malaventura and Navarro traded triples to start the second quarter, but Mason Rocca, Jeff Trepagnier and Valerio Spinelli blasted a 0-7 run for a 23-29 lead. Napoli was dominating in defense and surprising in offense when Rocca scored again for a 25-31. Michalis Kakiouzis and Rodrigo De la Fuente scored for Barcelona putting the hosts ahead with an 8-0 lead, 33-31. Trepagnier found the space with a triple as both teams were paying more attention to their backcourt game, when Navarro added points and Roko-Leni Ukic blasted another triple for Barcelona that left a close 39-35 at the halftime break.
Trias opened the second half with two free throws, but Brown replied with a three-point play. Napoli made a full-court press defense, but Barcelona got rid of it easily and Navarro hit a rainbow shot for 43-38. The hosts were finding now easy baskets, but in defense they allowed the necessary space to Jay Larranaga for a three that was joined by Brown and his basket to cap a 0-5 run for 48-45. Gianluca Basile broke the situation with a bomb from downtown, and Lakovic added two free throws to make it 53-47. Napoli tried to find fast solutions in offense through Brown, but Denis Marconato put back an offensive rebound. But Jeff Trepagnier did the same in a much more spectacular fashion slamming the rebound for a 57-51. Trias' hook put a 10-point lead for Barcelona, and Roko-Leni Ukic added to that for 64-52. An unsportsmanlike foul called on Roger Grimau saw Napoli taking advantage of that with four points, but Marconato slammed the ball on the buzzer for a 66-57 after 30 minutes.
De la Fuente and Trepagnier's triples got the score going in the last period, as Barcelona was able to score over Napoli's defense almost every time. Besides, an unsportsmanlike foul called on Sesay saw Marconato hitting two free throws and Lakovic adding a triple for a 16-point lead, 78-62, and Navarro added a new triple for 81-62. It was then when Eldo Napoli knew that it was not going to win the game. Navarro went to the bench and was given a standing ovation after another offensive display, and Barca didn't stop punishing Napoli's basket as Kakiouzis hit free throws for a 89-66. Larranaga added three more points to his column with a triple from the right corner, but that was all Napoli would do before Lakovic served an alley-oop to Vazquez to end the game in style as Barcelona had its fourth win of the season.
Thursday, November 16, 2006