2019-20Regular SeasonRound 7
November 08, 2019 CET: 19:00
Local time: 20:00 ZALGIRIO ARENA

Higgins and Mirotic shine as Barcelona holds on in Kaunas

FC Barcelona outlasted Zalgiris Kaunas to take a 86-93 victory at a packed Zalgirio Arena on Friday. The visiting team got ahead early on and protected a solid lead throughout the first half, before Zalgiris fought back hard in the second half and briefly led. But Barcelona stayed strong in the final period to claim its sixth win of the season. Cory Higgins was on fire in the second half, making 5 of 5 three-pointers in a career-high total of 27 points to inspire his team to victory. Nikola Mirotic was also outstanding, combining 24 points and 6 rebounds. Zach LeDay top scored for the home team with 16 points, while Jock Landale (10), Marius Grigonis (14), Thomas Walkup (11) and Arturas Milaknis (11) also reached double figures. Barcelona improves to 6-1 for a share of the lead of the standings, while Zalgiris is now 3-4.

A big dunk from Landale and a triple from Alex Perez opened the scoring, but Rolands Smits answered with 5 points and a three-point play from Mirotic made it 5-8. Mirotic scored two more baskets but Lukas Lekavicius and Nigel Hayes were on target to keep it close until Mirotic continued his early masterclass to make it 12-19. Lekavicius twice penetrated to score in a 6-0 run, and it was 20-23 at the end of the first quarter. Milaknis and Ante Tomic scored inside early in the second, and 9 fast points off the bench from Pierre Oriola kept Barcelona ahead, 28-34. Milaknis and Thomas Walkup struck from deep, but Tomic and Malcolm Delaney answered with layups. Adam Hanga struck from deep and Mirotic tipped in, before LeDay scored on the buzzer to make it 40-47 at half-time. LeDay’s dunk and fastbreak layup got the second half going, and LeDay scored again to tie it up at 47-47. Higgins netted the visiting team’s only field goal in the first 5 minutes of the quarter, but LeDay scored again to give Zalgiris a 51-50 edge. Barcelona moved ahead again through free throws, before three more scores from Higgins, including a buzzer-beating triple, made it 61-66 at the end of the third. Higgins struck two more triples at the start of the fourth and then added a driving score for a 64-74 lead. Zalgiris battled but a pair of baskets from Hanga maintained a double-digit margin. A three-point play by Grigonis and a layup by Walkup made it 77-82 with 3 minutes left, but a mid-range strike from Brandon Davies kept Barcelona ahead. Hayes struck from deep for 83-87, but Mirotic replied with free throws and a transition score by Delaney secured the outcome.

Ten out of ten for Mirotic

Nikola Mirotic excelled again, recording 13 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals in the first quarter alone to send his team to victory. Barcelona’s summer signing has now scored at least 10 points in 10 consecutive EuroLeague games, a streak which started when he was still a Real Madrid player in the 2014 playoffs against Olympiacos.

LeDay heroics boost Zalgiris

A remarkable burst of action from Zach LeDay either side of half-time gave the game fresh life. Barca was leading 38-47 when LeDay picked up a loose ball to score the last points of the first half, then he opened the second quarter scoring with a big dunk, a fastbreak score, a free throw and a jump hook, giving LeDay a personal 9-0 run in the space of two minutes to level the game.

Higgins takes over

LeDay’s efforts were outdone by Cory Higgins, who almost single-handedly repelled Zalgiris’s big comeback with a flurry of points. The former CSKA Moscow guard netted 22 points in just over 10 minutes of action to bridge the third and fourth quarters, restoring a lead which would never be lost.

Davies honored on return to Kaunas

Former Zalgiris player Brandon Davies made his first return to Kaunas since leaving the club for Barca in the summer, and he was honored with a special pregame presentation and a standing ovation from his appreciative former fans, who were eager to show their gratitude for his outstanding two seasons with the club.

Next round

Barcelona is looking ahead to this season’s first Clasico with Thursday’s Round 8 trip to Real Madrid. A day later, Zalgiris travels to face Olympiacos in Piraeus.

Nikola Mirotic - FC Barcelona - EB19
Friday, November 8, 2019
Euroleague.net
Referees: RYZHYK, BORYS; ROCHA, FERNANDO; PETEK, SASO
Attendance: 15342
By Quarter1234
Zalgiris Kaunas20202125
FC Barcelona23241927
End of Quarter1234
Zalgiris Kaunas20406186
FC Barcelona23476693
Zalgiris Kaunas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 WALKUP, THOMAS 28:00 14 3/4 2/3 2/2 1 2 3 5 2 2     4 2 18
2 PEREZ, ALEX 6:48 5   1/2 2/2   1 1 1         2 1 5
4 LEKAVICIUS, LUKAS 16:26 6 3/3 0/2     1 1 3 1 3     1 2 7
10 HAYES, NIGEL 30:27 8 1/2 2/6   2 3 5 1 1       2 1 9
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS 5:14 2 1/2                     1    
21 MILAKNIS, ARTURAS 23:00 11 1/1 2/4 3/3   2 2           2 2 11
23 GEBEN, MARTINAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
31 JOKUBAITIS, ROKAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
32 LEDAY, ZACH 29:50 16 6/11 1/4 1/2   2 2 2         1 3 13
34 LANDALE, JOCK 15:14 10 3/3 1/4 1/2 2   2 2   1       2 11
40 GRIGONIS, MARIUS 26:15 14 3/4 2/4 2/3 1 1 2 4 1 2     3 4 16
92 ULANOVAS, EDGARAS 18:46   0/1 0/1     1 1 1   1     3   -4
Team           2   2     1         1
Totals 200:00 86 21/31 11/30 11/14 8 13 21 19 5 10 0 0 19 17 87
        67.7% 36.7% 78.6%
Head coach: JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS
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
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 21:40 4 1/4 0/1 2/2 2 4 6 4 1 3     2 2 8
8 HANGA, ADAM 24:10 9 3/3 1/2   2 1 3 4 1 1     1 1 15
10 SMITS, ROLANDS 12:25 5 1/4 1/2   2 1 3     2     2 1 1
14 PUSTOVYI, ARTEM DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
18 ORIOLA, PIERRE 13:20 9 3/3 1/2   1   1           2   7
21 ABRINES, ALEX 8:42           1 1           1 1 1
22 HIGGINS, CORY 29:53 27 4/5 5/5 4/4 1 3 4 1 1 1     2 4 33
23 DELANEY, MALCOLM 21:44 7 3/4 0/4 1/2   3 3 7 1       3 2 11
24 KURIC, KYLE 23:06     0/2     2 2 2 1 1     1 1 2
31 BOLMARO, LEANDRO DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
33 MIROTIC, NIKOLA 26:40 24 6/10 0/4 12/12 4 2 6 2 2 2     1 6 29
44 TOMIC, ANTE 18:20 8 4/6   0/2 2 3 5 4 1 1     3 1 11
Team           2 2 4     1         3
Totals 200:00 93 25/39 8/22 19/22 16 22 38 24 8 12 0 0 18 19 121
        64.1% 36.4% 86.4%
Head coach: PESIC, SVETISLAV

Head Coaches

JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS
Zalgiris Kaunas
”Congratulations to Barcelona. It was not the game we expected, very high-scoring for both teams. I didn’t think from our side we did enough things to win the game. Unfortunately for us we are fighting but making the same mistakes, and details are costing us 20-30 points. Probably around 30.”
PESIC, SVETISLAV
FC Barcelona
“Continuity was important in defense, how we controlled their three-pointers. In general I think we played a perfect game in defense and offense, and we only had one problem in the third quarter when we didn’t make good box outs. We had some problems with defensive rebounds when Zalgiris tried to take early shots, but it’s important that the rest of the game was very good for us. When we controlled defensive rebounds, we didn’t have any problems.”

Players

WALKUP, THOMAS
Zalgiris Kaunas
“We definitely gave up way too many points. Not a number that we’re happy with. To win it would have to be a tough and ugly defensive game, but we let them do what they wanted to do. Their size was a problem but we have to combat that with physicality, and we didn’t do that from the first guy down to the last. When you give a team like that so many chances, you’re not going to win.”
MIROTIC, NIKOLA
FC Barcelona
"I think we played a great game. Above all, we started really well from the beginning, controlling the defensive rebounds and playing well on offense. In the second half, when they got closer, we did a great job on defense and found Cory (Higgins) on offense, who was phenomenal today. We managed to get a hard-fought win."
HANGA, ADAM
FC Barcelona
"It is a very important win after our loss in Milan. We know that we would have a tougher schedule from now on, because the next game in Madrid is also a little bit in our heads. We knew that it was very important to win this game. As always against Zalgiris, we had to work hard to win. We had to work hard until the end because they always return to the game, always come back, which is a trademark for Saras's team. We are happy with this victory. We have very little time to recover because we play another game (in the Spanish League) on Sunday morning. It has been a while since we played Friday night and Sunday morning, so we have to prepare well, rest a bit and give everything we have."
HIGGINS, CORY
FC Barcelona
“We stayed together. It’s difficult to play here, they have great support and never give up. But we stuck together and that’s why we got the win. I’m very comfortable in the side but I’ve got to be more consistent. We’ve got big time players in this team and anyone can step up. We're not even close to our best basketball but we’re going the right way.”