Cory Higgins Barcelona
Photo: Euroleague Basketball

After a very close and intense match in Spain on Thursday (15/10), with both teams exchanging the lead, Barcelona was the one who managed to get the win defeating Panathinaikos, 97-89, in OT. With Nick Calathes playing against his former teammates and Marcus Foster having an amazing night offensively, Barcelona survived Panathinaikos’ pressure, despite the absences.

Cory Higgins was the top scorer for Barcelona with 24 points, with Brandon Davies adding 20. For Panathinaikos, Marcus Foster led the “Greens” with 24 points, whilst Howard Sant-Roos added 17. Dinos Mitoglou for Panathinaikos scored a double-double of 16 points with 12 rebounds.

Panathinaikos got an early nine-point lead in the first quarter (4-15), with Barcelona unable to find their way to the basket easily. With Marcus Foster scoring 10 of Panathinaikos’ 18 points in the first quarter, the “greens” were in control of the rhythm. With Barcelona losing Alex Abrines (ankle injury), the players of Saras Jasikevicius ended the first quarter trailing by five (13-18).

With Barcelona going on an 8-0 run, the second quarter started with the Catalans getting the lead for the first time in the match (21-18). Marcus Foster was again the one who brought Panathinaikos back to the game and with a six-point run from him Panathinaikos was leading again by three (21-24). Kyle Kuric helped Barcelona run an 8-0 score and retain the lead (29-24), forcing coach Vovoras to call a time-out. With three minutes until the end of the first half and the teams tied in 29 points, Barcelona ended the first half with a narrow advantage (36-35).

The second half started with five points from Dinos Mitoglou and two from Ioannis Papapetrou bringing Panathinaikos back to the leading position (36-42). Barcelona fought back with Cory Higgins but Panathinaikos was again the team that was in control of the tempo. That’s when Barcelona, with two straight three pointers from Nick Calathes and Kyle Kuric, made it a five-point match (50-55) and tied the game later on to end the third quarter (58-58).

With both teams exchanging the lead in the fourth quarter, none of them could get a difference that would secure the win for them. Ioannis Papapetrou was fouled out five minuted before the end of the quarter, with Panathinaikos losing their captain and an all-over weapon. With a slam dunk from Brandon Davies and four points in total, Barcelona got a four-point lead, forcing coach Vovoras to call a time-out. Leonidas Kaselakis tied the game with three free throws and 7 seconds remaining, punishing that way coach Jasikevicius who took the risk to defend Nedovic. The Serbian passed to Kaselakis in the perimeter with the player taking the shot but getting fouled by Martinez. Kaselakis made all three free throws and sent the game to OT.

With Barcelona determined to get the win in OT, the players of Saras Jasikivicius got a four-point lead early in overtime (79-75). Marcus Foster, who had been quiet for a while, got hot again scoring for three, but Kyle Kuric, with his fourth three-pointer, made it immediately a four-point game again (82-78), with Adam Hanga extending Barcelona’s lead with another three (87-81). That’s the boost Barcelona needed to gain their confidence back and finish the game in overtime, 97-89.