2019-20Regular SeasonRound 3
October 18, 2019 CET: 21:00
Local time: 21:00 PALAU BLAUGRANA

Higgins, Mirotic lead Barcelona past ALBA

FC Barcelona remained undefeated by downing ALBA Berlin 103-84 in its home opener at Palau Blaugrana on Friday. Barcelona improved to 3-0 in the standings while ALBA dropped to 1-2. Cory Higgins led the winners with 22 points. Nikola Mirotic added 18 while Ante Tomic had 15 on 7-for-7 two-point shooting for Barcelona. Rokas Giedraitis led ALBA with 17 points. Peyton Siva got 12, Tyler Cavanaugh had 11 while Niels Giffey added 10. Landry Nnoko and an outstanding Giedraitis allowed ALBA to shake off a 6-0 start and get a 19-25 margin after 10 minutes. Giffey soon gave the guests a double-digit lead, 19-30, but Mirotic and an unstoppable Higgins – with 11 points in 7 minutes – put Barcelona ahead, 46-44, at halftime. Mirotic took over with 9 quick points after the break, getting plenty of help from Tomic to boost Barcelona's lead to 68-50 late in the third quarter. Nothing changed after that, as Barcelona cruised to a convincing home win.

Tomic got Barcelona going with a couple of close baskets that Adam Hanga followed with a fastbreak layup for a 6-0 lead. Cavanaugh struck from downtown and Giedraitis followed a corner triple with a three-point play to get ALBA within 10-9. Mirotic answered with a layup-plus-foul but a jumper by Kenneth Ogbe ignited a 0-7 run that Luke Sikma capped with a bomb from beyond the arc that gave ALBA its first lead, 13-16. Giedraitis took over with another three-point play, getting help from Ogbe and Nnoko to boost ALBA's lead to 19-25 after 10 minutes. Giffey followed a triple with a jumper to make it a double-digit game, 19-30, early in the second quarter. Pierre Oriola and Higgins tried to change things for the hosts, and a layup-plus-foul by Tomic gave Barcelona hope at 28-32. Giffey hit a three-pointer but Mirotic struck twice from beyond the arc in an 8-0 run that Higgins capped with a layup for a 36-35 Barcelona lead. Higgins kept pacing Barcelona with a triple and a four-point play. Sikma, Giedraitis – twice – and Victor Claver also struck from downtown to fix the halftime score at 46-44. Nnoko tied the game after the break, 46-46, but Mirotic took over after that with a three-point play and 2 bombs from downtown, good for a 55-47 Barcelona lead. Tomic scored twice down low, Claver added a second-chance layup, and Oriola downed an alley-oop that broke the game open, 63-50. Oriola scored again before a three-pointer by Higgins capped a mammoth 22-4 run. Cavanaugh and Tim Schneider brought ALBA a bit closer, 72-61, after 30 minutes. Kyle Kuric hit a couple of jumpers and Abrines added a three-pointer for a 79-64 Barcelona lead early in the fourth quarter. ALBA never gave up and tried to erase its deficit but Higgins stepped up to seal the outcome, 84-66, long before the final buzzer.

Pivotal performer

Higgins came off the bench and made the difference, scoring 22 points in less than 20 minutes. He hit 3-of-6 two-point shots, all of his 4 attempts from downtown and 4-of-4 from the foul line. He added 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 5 fouls drawn for a PIR of 28.

Game-changing moment

ALBA tied the game for the last time, 46-46, right after the break. That is when Mirotic decided he had enough, following a layup-plus-foul with a couple of three-pointers. He had 9 points in a 22-4 run that made it 68-50 and put the hosts in charge for good until the final buzzer.

Stellar stat

Barcelona scored 25-of-43 two-point shots (58.1%) and limited ALBA to just 8-of-24 shooting (33.3%) inside the arc. Those 8 two-point shots is ALBA's all-time low in the EuroLeague. It had previously scored 9 against Idea Slask Wroclaw on November 12, 2003. Barcelona outrebounded ALBA by 48-24. Those 48 rebounds are a EuroLeague season high.

Did you notice?

It was ALBA head coach Aito Garcia Reneses's first EuroLeague road game at Palau Blaugrana. Garcia Reneses coached Barcelona for 13 seasons in three different stints, winning nine Spanish League titles, five Copa del Rey trophies, a Cup Winners Cup and two Korac Cup crowns. His previous EuroLeague game at Palau Blaugrana was with Barcelona, against Scavolini Pesaro on April 18, 2002 – 6,392 days ago!

Next game:

In Round 4 next week, Barcelona visits Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade in the Serbian capital on Thursday, while ALBA hosts reigning EuroLeague champion CSKA Moscow on Friday.

Nikola Mirotic - FC Barcelona - EB19
Friday, October 18, 2019
Euroleague.net
Referees: JAVOR, DAMIR; PASTUSIAK, PIOTR; THEPENIER, HUGUES
Attendance: 3585 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
FC Barcelona19272631
ALBA Berlin25191723
End of Quarter1234
FC Barcelona194672103
ALBA Berlin25446184
FC Barcelona
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 DAVIES, BRANDON 17:28 7 2/5   3/4   2 2 3 1 4 2   2 2 7
8 HANGA, ADAM 17:37 2 1/2 0/2 0/2 1 5 6 8   2 1   4 2 8
10 SMITS, ROLANDS 4:48 8 2/2 1/1 1/2   1 1             1 9
18 ORIOLA, PIERRE 16:49 8 3/3 0/1 2/4 1 1 2 1         3 2 7
21 ABRINES, ALEX 24:00 8 1/1 2/4     1 1   2         3 12
22 HIGGINS, CORY 19:48 22 3/6 4/4 4/4   2 2 3 1 1     2 5 27
23 DELANEY, MALCOLM 16:04   0/2 0/1     2 2 4   2     2 1  
24 KURIC, KYLE 15:01 8 3/6 0/3 2/2 3   3     1   1 2 2 3
30 CLAVER, VICTOR 16:00 7 1/2 1/5 2/2 4 3 7 1 1 1     1 2 11
31 BOLMARO, LEANDRO 11:30   0/3     2 1 3 3   2     4 1 -2
33 MIROTIC, NIKOLA 20:55 18 2/4 4/7 2/2 1 2 3   3 2 1 1 1 2 18
44 TOMIC, ANTE 20:00 15 7/7   1/1 2 4 6 1   3     3 4 20
Team           3 7 10     1         9
Totals 200:00 103 25/43 12/28 17/23 17 31 48 24 8 19 4 2 24 27 129
        58.1% 42.9% 73.9%
Head coach: PESIC, SVETISLAV
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
ALBA Berlin
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 MASON, MAKAI 4:05     0/1                   1   -2
3 SIVA, PEYTON 25:29 12 1/2 2/7 4/6   4 4 8   3   1 3 3 12
5 GIFFEY, NIELS 18:05 10 2/3 2/2     1 1 1 1 1     3   8
6 DELOW, MALTE 2:32 3   1/1                       3
9 MATTISSECK, JONAS 14:31 3   0/2 3/5 1   1   2 1       4 5
10 SCHNEIDER, TIM 12:07 8 0/1 2/5 2/2         1 1   1 3 1 1
15 HERMANNSSON, MARTIN 15:00   0/1           1   2     4 1 -5
25 OGBE, KENNETH 14:50 6 2/2 0/2 2/2 1 3 4   1 1     4 2 6
31 GIEDRAITIS, ROKAS 25:28 17 2/3 3/7 4/4       3 2 1     3 5 18
34 CAVANAUGH, TYLER 22:19 11 0/4 2/3 5/5 1 1 2 3 1     1 3 5 13
35 NNOKO, LANDRY 20:14 8 1/2   6/6 2 5 7     6 2   2 3 11
43 SIKMA, LUKE 25:20 6 0/6 2/5     2 2 5 1 1   1 1   2
Team           1 2 3               3
Totals 200:00 84 8/24 14/35 26/30 6 18 24 21 9 17 2 4 27 24 75
        33.3% 40% 86.7%
Head coach: GARCIA RENESES, AITO

Head Coaches

PESIC, SVETISLAV
FC Barcelona
"This is the EuroLeague and this is basketball. We played against a team that has played together for a long time. Last season, you would say that if you beat Zalgiris in Kaunas, you would say that we won, but it was difficult – and yesterday, Madrid lost that game. That means that the EuroLeague teams are the best that we have in Europe and (we) need time to get in our rhythm, on defense, on offense. You don't play against a team that came here to visit. They want to compete and showed big character and good basketball. Playing against a team like ALBA is not an easy job for us."
GARCIA RENESES, AITO
ALBA Berlin
"For me and for us, it is an honor to play in the EuroLeague because the potential of a lot of teams in this competition is very big. We are here mainly to learn and try to be better every time, knowing that sometimes it is difficult, because not only technically but also physically, it is very difficult to compete against this kind of team, like Barcelona. Today they dominated the rebounds, 24-48, and it is very difficult. We are happy, however, because it is a very interesting competition and for ALBA fans to see these kinds of teams in Berlin is very good, because they will enjoy both our play and the play of the other teams. Barcelona played really well and it was very difficult for us, physically, to follow their rhythm. We wanted to win, of course, but we knew what kind of team we had in front of us. I am sure that Barcelona will play even better because I am sure that Coach Pesic will do a good job. We have to take into account that they have a lot of new players and it takes time to coordinate them. It is easier when the players are that good, but it is not easy."

Players

ABRINES, ALEX
FC Barcelona
"It was a very close game for the better part of the opening three quarters. ALBA is a team that has a lot of outside shooters and never leaves the game. Luckily, we played a much better fourth quarter than them and were able to break the game. I am very happy. Obviously, you cannot do everything right, but I am improving. I am feeling much better on the court, and I keep working hard to earn my coaches' confidence in the games."
HIGGINS, CORY
FC Barcelona
"This is great for us. We are still a very new team and we still even haven't scratched the surface of what we are going to be, so it is good for us to have this start in the EuroLeague. Like I said, it is a great start but at the same time, we have a lot of work to do. The season is very long so this is just the beginning. We just have to keep learning and getting better every day."
TOMIC, ANTE
FC Barcelona
"The second half was much, much better than the first half – better defense and better offense, of course. We scored more than 100 points, so we are talking about good offense. Everybody scored and everybody played well today. It is a big victory for us, especially because it was our first game in the Palau, and it was important to open the home season with a victory."
SIKMA, LUKE
ALBA Berlin
"We knew it was going to a be tough game. They are a really good team, really talented. Sometimes it is good for you to really see what you are up against. I think it is humbling and a good learning experience. We need to have a short memory, turn it around and be ready to play on Sunday (in the German League)."