By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
It was the game that ended last, but it was decided way early. Pau Gasol set the tone with seven points, four blocks, three steals, and three rebounds, defense was the name of the game and FC Barcelona prevailed with ease over Zenit St. Petersburg with the final score being 79-53.
“We didn’t understand that with signing Gasol, we signed Mutombo”, said Barcelona coach Sarunas Jasikevius speaking about the performance of the Spanish legend.
After an exciting series that included two road wins, one for each opponent, things were quite different in Game 5 and much more expected. Cory Higgins with 15 points was the top scorer of the winners, Nick Calathes added 12 points and five rebounds, while Kyle Kuric and Brandon Davies had 11 points each.
“When our defense is like this, we believe even more, it was a team effort and now we are in the Final Four”, said Calathes after the game.
Barcelona started the game leading 23-14 after the first quarter, led by 16 (41-25) in the second quarter, and enter the locker rooms in halftime with a 43-30 advantage.
Barcelona’s defense was finally clicking and thanks to a 14-4 run at the start of the second half, the hosts led by 23 (57-34) after two threes by Calathes and Kuric. The third period ended with Barcelona up by 18 (57-39) with Zenit scoring just nine points in ten minutes of action.
There was no coming back after that. Kevin Pangos was finally contained by Barcelona’s defense and finished the night with seven points, 10 assists, and four turnovers, while Alex Poythress with 11 points was the only scorer in double digits for Zenit, which was still missing the injured duo of Ponitka and Gudaitis.
“I have to congratulate our organization and our players for what we did until now this season in the EuroLeague, but in this game, Barcelona was much more ready, had more quality, more options, they wanted it more and we couldn’t do much”, admitted Zenit coach Xavi Pascual.
“I told Xavi that for me as a young coach it was really important to get through this series and we finally demonstrated our true face”, added Saras.