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27.11.2008 20:30

Joint leaders at half way stage (60-75)

S˛nia de Alba

Regal FC Barcelona won on the road at Zalgiris by 15 points in a game in which the Lithuanians posted a lively performance, but Barša were always the better side.

Xavi Pascual are now 4-1 in the Euroleague, and share the lead with Panathinaikos and Montepaschi after defeating a Zalgiris side that refused to let their heads drop.

Barša were taking no chances against a side that can cause much more danger than their record suggests, and made sure of making an early impact, with Andersen and Navarro opening the scoring. Zalgiris, who were pleased to include Loren Woods, who is back from the USA after attending to personal problems, started slowly.

Lakovic and Navarro sent Barša flying into a 12 point lead after just three minutes, which had been reduced to nine by the end of the period (14-23).

No time to relax

Zalgiris picked things up a little in the second, while Barša started playing more on the back burner, with one of the Lithuanian outfit’s stronger players, Maciulis, snatching his chance.

GYI0056272355.jpgThe Catalan side’s lead was slowly reduced, with Janavicius and Maciulis scoring to make it 28-33 just a minute from the break. Lakovic readjusted things with a three pointer to make it 28-36, and the half ended with free throws the main protagonists. Woods and Lakovic took the responsibility and made no mistakes, and the half concluded at 32-38.

Lakovic leads the reaction

GYI0056272140.jpgBarša started the third period as edgily as they had ended the second, but Santiago, Navarro and Lakovic soon started getting back into their rhythm. Some classy long throws and the intimidating presence of the Puerto Rican on the paint seemed solid enough to prevent winless Zalgiris from avoiding yet another Euroleague defeat.

Jaka Lakovic bagged another three to make it 42-47, but it was still too slight a lead for comfort. Gintaras Krapikas, the Kaunas coach, then called the time out that Xavi Pascual had been considering moments before.

But it was then that Barša produced 16 points thanks to the work of Lakovic, Navarro and Andersen, with the centre of Australian origin scoring the final points of the period to make it 48-64.

The final period saw Jaka Lakovic scoring his 20th to make it 47-57, and in doing so surpass the register of 2,000 points in the Euroleague. Only Marcus Brown, Luis Alberto Scola and John Robert Holden have previously made it past the two-grand mark in Europe’s premier basketball competition.

Barrett in the climax

GYI0056272142.jpgThough defeat was looming for his side, the final 10 minutes still left time for Loren to show some of what he is worth. The American ended the game as the most valuable player of the match (32) and second highest scorer after Lakovic (22 points). Pascual gave the Slovene a well-deserved rest and sent Barrett on for the final minutes. Playing in relaxed fashioned, the American was able to add a sense of control to way the ball was circulated, and it was he who sealed the definitive 60-75

The basketball team will start the second half of their programme next week at the Palau. On Thursday they meet French outfit Nancy, who they beat 54-82 in their opening fixture. Nancy are second last in group B with a 1-4 record.
Joint leaders at half way stage (60-75)

Zalgiris (14+18+16+12): Woods (18), Maciulis (12), Janavicius (4), Jankunas (17), Deane (-) – starting five – Vasiliauskas (-), Kalnietis (7), Zukauskas (-), Klimavicius (-), Masiulis (-), Salenga (2), Milaknis (-).

Regal FC Barcelona (23+15+26+11): Lakovic (22), Navarro (14), Andersen (11), Ilyasova (2), Santiago (11) – starting five – Basile (2), Barrett (5), Trias (-), Barton (3), Rey (-), Vßzquez (3), Grimau (2)

Referees: Drabikovsky, Ziemblicki and Vojinovic

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