By Stefan Djordjevic / email@example.com
Cory Higgins led the way with 14 points while Pierre Oriola added 12 and Rolands Smits 11 points. Nick Calathes helped with ten.
“It feels good. We started well, but then we weren’t so good, so we had to re-focus at halftime and made a more consistent effort to drive the ball and play better defense, and I think that’s what got us the win. For us, defense is always the key. If we play defense we usually play well; if not, then it doesn’t go well for us,” Higgins said.
For Zvezda, Ognjen Dobric was the only double-digit scorer with 11 points while Jordan Loyd scored nine in his first came back.
The Serbian team was completely overpowered early on as they couldn’t deal with Barcelona’s aggressive defense, as well as individual quality on offense – despite bad shooting from deep.
Barca went ahead 21-8 and although Zvezda stayed close at halftime with solid three-point shooting (35-31), Higgins’ eight points in the third quarter pushed Barca to a 57-43 lead from which the home squad couldn’t recover.
Coach Sarunas Jasikevicius, despite the win, wasn’t fully satisfied with his team’s performance: “To tell the truth, I am not that satisfied. In some moments we were really really great, especially defensively. And immediately when we got the lead we always relaxed, it happened in the second quarter and it happened in the fourth quarter. You give teams a little bit of a chance. We don’t want to be this kind of team, we want to put teams away and dominate the game. But at the same time, any time you leave Belgrade with a win, it’s good news.”
With this win, Barca improved to a 15-6 record and holds the top of the standings together with CSKA Moscow (15-6). On the other hand, Zvezda stayed at 7-14, the same number of wins as Panathinaikos OPAP, Alba Berlin, and LDLC ASVEL.
“We want to be in the first place at the end of the season, not right now. Obviously, it is very important if you look at the standings, we’ve been on the road quite a bit. We are in a tough stretch right now, four games in seven days, and we need to keep going,” Jasikevicius said.