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05.11.2009 20:37

Defence produces victory in Kaunas (70-77)

S˛nia de Alba

Regal Barša made up for the absences of Navarro and Basile in offence by defending to perfection against Zalgiris, especially in the last few minutes. They are now 3-0 in the Euroleague.

The game started at an intense and electrifying pace and was ultimately decided in the final period by a decisive Regal Barša. Xavi Pascual’s side led from the start, but Zalgiris never looked totally out of it, not even when they dropped to 16 behind. Mainly thanks to Begic, the Lithuanians fought back to within just two (68-70) three minutes from the end.

Barša stayed calm and forced errors out of Gintaras Krapikas’ charges, and defgending was the key to this important win, which puts the side 3-0 in Europe. And all on Jordi Trias’ 29th birthday.

Strong start

GYI0058833564.jpgZalgiris started strongly, and after winning their first home match in this competition were ready to give their vociferous fans another treat.

The Darius and Girenas Sports Centre was packed to the rafters for what promised to be a fine encounter.

Marcus Brown led the home side’s early plays, but Pete Mickeal responded with some fine footwork from short and long distance.

Jaka Lakovic converted a three to make it 21 each, and Barša were away. Morris also had a great period and he contributed to make it 21-23 as the first quarter ended.

Big lead in third period

GYI0058833437.jpgRegal Barša never looked back. Lakovic was inspired, but occasional flashes of brilliance from Kalnietis kept Zalgiris within touching distance just at looked like they were starting to slip away.

Mickeal and Lorbek dealt with the biggest Baltic dangers, but from 30-37 the Lithuanians made it back to 38-41 with a Klimavicius score on the buzzer. They are not a side that lies down quite that easily.

But Barša stayed solid and the second half started with some dominance with the rebounds and a 0-7 streak that helped take +6 with a Roger Grimau three with 3.14 left on the clock (49-55). Morris, with 53-67, streak the maximumf difference (+14).

Zalgiris kept battling, and AixÝ Begic was particularly impressive as his side pounced back with a 6-0 streak and two consecutive Brown threes shortly after. Barša’s lead had caved in to almost nothing and Pascual opted to cut things there and then with a timeout (65-70 with 4 minutes left).

Defence, defence and more defence

GYI0058832751.jpgRegal Barša seemed to have lost their shape, but not their desire. Kalnietis stuck away another three, and it looked like the home side might just sneak it (68-70). But Barša held their positions, and Erazem Lorbek forced a foul from Watson and got it right with both of his free throws.

It was then that Kalnietis made an uncharacteristic error and then a Sada foul on Brown neutralised Zalgiris’ hopes of winning.

70-77 and Regal Barša return from Kaunas still unbeaten this season.
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Zalgiris (21+17+15+17):
Brown (17), Kalnietis (13), Begic (20), Salenga (-), Watson (12) – starting five – Pocius (3), Juskevicius (-), Janavicius (-), Klimavicius (5), Butkevicius (-), Milaknis (-), Cukinas (-)

Regal FC Barcelona (23+18+22+14): Rubio (8), Ndong (-), Lorbek (11), Mickeal (22), Grimau (6) – starting five – Trias (-), Lakovic (11), Vßzquez (-), Rabaseda (-), Morris (13), Sada (2)

Referees: Ziemblicki (POL), Cicoria (ITA)

Click here to view the full match stats.

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