Barcelona bounced back from their shock defeat to ALBA Berlin last week by edging Panathinaikos 80-76 in their Euroleague Top 16, Group E clash.
The Catalan giants had to fight back from a poor first quarter though, as their rivals raced out to a 20-14 lead. Barca though came back to tie it at 37-37 at the half-time interval and held their nerve at the end to claim their third victory of the season over the Greens.
Marcelinho Huertas led Barca with 23 points, which included a hot streak of six straight triples.
‘Nothing is easy when you get to this part of the competition, playing only against the best teams in Europe,” the Brazilian international said. “We know playing against a big team like Panathinaikos is never easy, not even here at home. For us, it was a good win because we came off consecutive road losses.
“This is good for our confidence. I think it is not the first time that I hit six three-point shots. I believe I did the same against Partizan in the past, but I don’t remember scoring six consecutive ones. When shots fall in, your self-confidence rises and everything is easier. The most important thing was winning the game and we managed to do that.”
DeMarcus Nelson led Panathinaikos with 16 points as they suffer their first loss of the Top 16.
The other Group E game saw Zalgiris get off the board by beating ALBA Berlin 75-62 in Kaunas.
Despite a poor shooting night, James Anderson led Zalgiris with 16 points as his side finally pulled away in the final period against ALBA, who proved to be evenly matched for the majority.
“For sure, the main reason why we won was our tough defence throughout the 40 minutes,” said Zalgiris coach Gintaras Krapikas. “They scored only 62 points tonight. We deserved to win the game.”
Jamel McLean paced Berlin with 16.
In Group F, Fenerbahce secured their first win of the Top 16 with a 78-60 success away to Nizhny Novgorod.
Andrew Goudelock led Fener with 23 points, with Bogdan Bogdanovic adding 17 in an impressive double act that helped the Turkish side to victory against a strong Nizhny that has now lost their game in three.
“We started a little bit slow, but picked it up in the second half and then we did pretty well,” Goudelock said afterwards. “Defence has been the emphasis of our work this week prior to the game and I’m happy we reached our targets of stopping Rochestie and the rest of their key players.”
Tarence Kinsey had 16 to lead Nizhny as leading scorer Taylor Rochestie was held to 10.
Anadolu Efes came back from a 49-34 half-time deficit to beat Unicaja Malaga 74-70 in a thriller in Istanbul.
The Turkish side held Unicaja scoreless for the first two minutes of the third and just piled on the points, eventually tying the game at 57-57 heading into the fourth period. Dontaye Draper then led them to victory with a dagger three with 25 seconds left to ice the game.
Matt Janning led Anadolu with 17 points. Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Vladimir Golubovic both had 10 points to lead a balanced Malaga unit.