By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Nikola Mirotic scored 20 out of his 26 points in the second half and Cory Higgins hit the winning free throws as Barcelona beat Real Madrid 71 – 69 at home to tie the best-of-five Spanish ACB Finals at 1-1.
With the score tied at 65 and three minutes to play after a 0-8 run by Real Madrid, Mirotic made two tough go-ahead baskets for the 67 – 65 and 69 – 67. Gabriel Deck drove inside and made a wonderful spin move to send the pass to Edy Tavares for the slam that made things even again with a minute remaining.
Cory Higgins attacked the basket and missed the layup against Tavares but won the foul and made the decisive pair of free throws. It was a quite controversial call by the referees since the replay shows Tavares’ hand making less than minimal (if any) contact with Higgins’ fingers after the Barcelona guard released the ball.
There were 27 seconds left at that moment for Real to win the match or force overtime. Fabien Causeur missed the 3-pointer and Rudy Fernandez grabbed the offensive rebound only for Nick Calathes to stop him from making any attempt.
Mirotic also grabbed seven rebounds while Higgins finished with 10 points. They were the only Barca players in double figures.
Guerschon Yabusele led Real with 16 points plus 11 rebounds, Tavares had 11 points and Adam Hanga posted 10 points plus five rebounds. Unlike the first game that was a one-sided affair for Real, this time the match was close for the most part after the first quarter with multiple ties and lead changes.