By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Pierre Oriola made 2-2 free throws with seven seconds to play to hand Barcelona a 79 – 78 overtime win over Olympiacos Piraeus at home in an intense game for most of the second half and the extra period.
Kostas Sloukas missed in his game-winning attempt after Oriola’s free throws and Olympiacos suffered its first defeat this season. The Reds went up 77 – 78 after free throws by Tyler Dorsey with 22 seconds to remaining but Barcelona had the final say to stay undefeated.
Nikola Mirotic propelled Barcelona to victory by scoring 20 out of his game-high 22 points in the second half and overtime He sounded the charge for a 14 – 2 entrance of Barcelona into the third period that gave them a 41 – 34 lead after trailing throughout the first half and closing the break down 47 – 32.
Barcelona took a 58 – 49 lead early in the fourth period and then Olympiacos made a comeback of its own with a 0 – 7 run to make it a close game once more. Sasha Vezenkov hit the go-ahead layup for the 65 – 67 and then Kyle Kuric scored the free throws that sent the game to overtime after both teams failed to connect to the basket in the last seconds of regulation.
“It was a tight game. But it was unlucky for us. They only scored at the end of regulation and overtime with free throws,” Olympiacos coach Giorgos Bartzokas said. Barcelona was near-perfect from the charity stripe with 24-26 while Olympiacos had 22-26. “We didn’t control the rebounding. But credit to our players. They had a great effort for 45 minutes. In my opinion, we deserved to win.”
Cory Higgins had 11 points, Brandon Davies added 10 while Nick Calathes provided nine points, a career-high 13 rebounds and seven assists.
Fun for everyone… except for the coach.
Barcelona coach Sarunas Jasikevicius admitted that this kind of game was an enjoyable experience for the fans but far from a pleasant one for him at the bench.
“Maybe a great game for fans sitting in the stands and watching on TV, it was very intense,” Jasikevicius said. “For me as a coach, it was a lot of suffering. With this crazy schedule that we have, I don’t know if we had enough time to understand what we’re trying to do. We didn’t do what we set out to do. Our game against their switch defense was very poor. We tried to prepare it but there are so many games. I think a lot of things went against us, especially in the first half, when we were missing a lot of easy stuff. Credit to the players who pulled it out.”
Photo: EuroLeague Basketball