Last-place ASVEL upsets leaders Barcelona
In the final game of Round 11, last-place LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne bounced back from recent losses by topping standings leader FC Barcelona 80-68 at the Astroballe on Friday night. ASVEL improved to 2-7 in the standings and recorded its first home win of the season. Meanwhile, Barcelona dropped to 8-2 and saw its seven-game winning streak come to an end. David Lighty led the winners with 17 points. ASVEL also got 14 points from Norris Cole, 12 from Allerik Freeman and 10 from Charles Kahudi. Nikola Mirotic led Barcelona with 14 points while Nick Calathes added 12. ASVEL won the opening three quarters, leading 25-19 after 10 minutes, 45-36 at halftime and 65-53 at the end of the third period, and kept full control of the game until the final buzzer.
Freeman got ASVEL going with a three-pointer and Guerschon Yabusale gave the hosts a 5-0 lead. Artem Pustovyi and Mirotic quickly fueled a 0-6 to put Barcelona in charge, 5-6. Lighty struck from downtown and Moustapha Fall found his first points but Mirotic and Calathes tied it at 10-10. Lighty scored down low, Antoine Diot did better with a triple and Freeman added a layup-plus-free throw for a 20-17 ASVEL lead. Cole and Kahudi boosted the difference to 25-19 after 10 minutes. Brandon Davies hit a jump-hook early in the second quarter but Kahudi matched it with a power layup. Kyle Kuric downed a jumper before Yabusele and Ismael Bako made it a double-digit game, 33-23, after a 6-0 run. Cory Higgins and Alex Abrines tried to change things for the guests, making ASVEL call timeout at 35-28. Rolands Smits scored twice around the basket but Bako and Cole restored a 42-32 ASVEL margin. Smits kept pacing Barcelona with a jump-hook that Freeman bettered with a triple. Davies scored down low to fix the halftime score at 45-36. Freeman fired in his third triple soon after the break. Higgins hit a jumper and Mirotic struck from downtown in a 0-7 Barcelona run that Calathes capped with a layup. Lighty buried a three-pointer after a timeout and Bako dunked, giving ASVEL fresh air at 53-43. Higgins took over with a three-point play but he didn't find much help, while Lighty and Yabusele each struck from beyond the arc for a 61-47 ASVEL lead. Lighty stayed unstoppable but Kuric and Davies kept the guests within 65-53 after 30 minutes. Mirotic calmed Barcelona with consecutive layups early in the fourth quarter but Kahudi and Amine Noua kept the hosts out of trouble, 70-57, with 7 minutes left. Cole beat the shot clock with a triple and added a jumper that sealed the outcome, 75-59, with over 4 minutes remaining. Barcelona did not give up but ASVEL cruised to a well-deserved win.
Lighty was solid on defense and very effective on defense, living up to his reputation as an elite two-way player. He finished the game with 17 points on 3-for-6 two-point, 3-for-4 three-point and 2-for-2 free-throw shooting. Lighty added 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals for a PIR of 23.
As Barcelona was trying to return to the game early in the fourth quarter, Amine Noua buried a three-pointer, Cole copied him right after that and soon added a jumper that broke the game open, 75-59. Barcelona never recovered after that.
Three-point shots made the difference in the game. ASVEL hit 13-of-21 shots from downtown for the club's third-best three-point shooting accuracy (61.9%) in the EuroLeague. Its total was also just one shy of the club record for most shots made from beyond the arc (14). Barcelona managed to make just 2 of 8 three-point shots (25%).
Did you know?
ASVEL broke an eight-game losing streak against Barcelona which included all seven previous showdowns this century plus the 1997 EuroLeague semifinal. ASVEL's last previous home win against Barcelona came on December 12, 1996, by 91-90 in overtime behind 21 points from Delaney Rudd.
In Round 12, Barcelona visits Zalgiris on Friday as Sarunas Jasikevicius returns to Kaunas for the first time since leaving the team. Jasikevicius coached Zalgiris for almost five seasons, leading the team to the EuroLeague Final Four in 2018. ASVEL has two games next week. It hosts Panathinaikos OPAP Athens in a postponed game from Round 3 on Tuesday. Three days later, on Friday, ASVEL visits Real Madrid for a Round 12 game.
Friday, November 27, 2020