Micic leads Zalgiris to a rare road win in Barcelona
Zalgiris Kaunas rode a fine offensive performance on a court where it traditionally struggled, keeping the lead for the majority of the night before holding off FC Barcelona Lassa 75-81 on Tuesday night at Palau Blaugrana. Zalgiris improved to 2-1 on the season, while Barcelona lost its second straight game and dropped to 1-2. Led by a career game from Vasilije Micic, Zalgiris trailed only in the opening five minutes, opened a double-digit margin in the fourth quarter, and avoided drama before sealing victory. Micic scored a career-high 20 points on 8-for-11 two-point shooting and also had 8 assists and 2 steals. Kevin Pangos dropped 16 points and Aaron White dunked his way to 13 points in victory. Adam Hanga paced Barcelona with 19 points and 10 rebounds, Petteri Koponen had 13 points and 6 assists, Kevin Seraphin also scored 13 and Pierre Oriola scored 10 in defeat.
The teams traded baskets early on, as Koponen nailed a pair of threes and Seraphin scored 6 in a row for the hosts, but Zalgiris had five different scorers of its first six baskets and went in front 12-14 on a triple by Arturas Milaknis. The visitors extended the lead to 14-19 behind a three-point play from Micic, and despite Ante Tomic feeding Hanga, who scored 6 points in the late stages of the first quarter, another layup from Micic made it 21-24 after 10 minutes. A pair of three-pointers from Pangos extended the margin to 24-31 in the second, as Zalgiris assumed control behind its smooth-running offense. Barcelona stopped the bleeding with a basket from Oriola from close range and Koponen hit again from long range. But the visitors remained in front with everybody contributing; six different scorers on the final six baskets, including an easy driving layup from Micic and a jumper from Paulius Jankunas, made it 39-45 at halftime.
At the start of the third, Hanga hit a triple, before Thomas Heurtel nailed a pair of long jumpers. But Micic drove through the traffic and fed White for a big baseline dunk. A layup from Pangos gave Zalgiris its first 8-point lead, but Barcelona stepped up defensively, and kept the visitors without a field goal for three minutes to get within 54-57. Micic gave Zalgiris some more breathing room with a three-pointer. Zalgiris led 54-62 going into the final quarter, which Pau Ribas opened with a three-pointer. But, Zalgiris kept getting to the baskets, including another driving layup by Micic, and a pair of dunks by White, who extended it to 60-70 and forced a Barcelona timeout. Hanga and Adrien Moerman kept the
hosts’ chances alive, but White had another dunk that made it 65-74 with three minutes to go. Barcelona never got closer than 6 points as Micic drove for a dunk and a 69-78 lead in penultimate minute, and Jankunas pulled down an offensive board in the final minute to seal the deal.
Tuesday, October 24, 2017