By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Willy Hernangomez scored 18 points on 7-8 shots over 16 minutes in his first EuroLeague game after 2016 and Barcelona beat Anadolu Efes 91 – 74 to start the season in the competition. The Blaugrana dominated the fourth period 22-10 to get the win after a close battle for 30 minutes.
Hernangomez dropped 13 of his points in the second half, making consecutive buckets in the third period to help Barca retain a small lead over Efes. With the score 67 – 64, the hosts made a 13-2 run as Jabari Parker also entered the equation to help his team grab its first-digit advantage in the game.
“Super happy and super proud of the team,” Hernangomez said. “We fought for 40 minutes. We’ve been working really hard to get better. We have a new team but our expectations are very high.”
“It’s been rough for me to get used to being back,” Hernangomez added. “I’m trying to work hard. I got to say thank you to my team, to Barcelona for giving me this opportunity to play, to be happy and do what I love: Playing basketball.”
Shane Larkin (16 points, 12 assists) tried to keep Efes close but his team overall didn’t have any answers and offensive solutions to respond to Barcelona. Elijah Bryant made it 85 – 74 with 1:33 to play but his opponents responded with a 5-0 run after a Roger Grimau timeout to secure the victory.
Parker finished with 10 points, all of them in the eight minutes for Barcelona. Jan Vesely had 16 points and seven rebounds while Nicolas Laprovittola produced 13 points, eight assists and five boards.
“We made few turnovers, just five and only two in the last quarter,” Grimau said following his first-ever EuroLeague win. He took over Barcelona last summer. “I think we played great defense, especially in the last quarter. We found some easy baskets from the transition offense or fast break. Very happy to win here with our people and this atmosphere.”
“When you win it’s like getting some fresh air to keep on working, practicing and building the team,” he added.
Bryant dropped 10 points and Tyrique Jones scored 10 points in his EuroLeague debut for Efes. The Turkish side struggled to make open shots and had poor defensive reactions to Barcelona especially in the decisive final period. The team also lacked the expected contribution from players like Will Clyburn (7 points on 3-12 from the field) and Darius Thompson (2 points on 1-7 and three assists).
“We made many easy mistakes offensively,” Efes boss Erdem Can said after his EuroLeague debut as head coach. “Missed open looks. Defensively we weren’t tough enough. But this is the first game. Hopefully, we’ll be better and better.”