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EuroLeague Diaries: FC Barcelona’s revenge in Munich; Crvena Zvezda wins in Tel Aviv after four years

Nick Calathes FC Barcelona
Photo: EuroLeague Basketball

The first day of EuroLeague Round 2 had its share of surprise as three road teams claimed victory. Moreover, Panathinaikos bounced back from a surprising opening day defeat with a win against Fenerbahce, the team of the ‘Green’s’ former head coach Sasha Djordjevic.

Here what’s stood out from Day 1 of EuroLeague’s Round 2 on Thursday:

FC Barcelona takes revenge against Bayern Munich

FC Barcelona maintained a perfect start to its season, as they secured a road win against Bayern Munich. As a result, the Catalans had their revenge against the German team, which won both contests between the two last year.

Barca took advantage of its defensive stability and its amazing shooting numbers to earn a hard-fought victory in Munich. Mirotic and co. shot an outstanding 66.7 percent from the field and a commanding 50 percent from deep.

“Being more physical and mentally strong made the difference for me tonight, I played tough basketball. Bayern is always a physical team, they’re not going to make anything easy for you,” Corry Higgins said after scoring a team-high 16 points.

As a team, we had the right mindset about being physical today. I was struggling in the first half, but my teammates and coach gave me confidence and that’s what this team’s all about, we always pick each other up.”

At the start of the season, FC Barcelona has a perfect 5-0 in the season, including two EuroLeague wins against the two German powerhouses, ALBA Berlin and Bayern.

Nemanja Nedovic bounces back with a clutch performance

The last time he stepped on the floor, Nemanja Nedovic had it tough, finishing scoreless in the blowout loss to Monaco. In the close-fought win against Fenerbahce on Thursday, Nedovic was instrumental in Panathinaikos’ first win.

He scored 13 of his total 20 points in the last quarter, hitting 11 of 11 from the free-throw line with several of those clutch free throws coming in the final minute of the game.

Panathinaikos came back from a five-point deficit in the last few seconds of the game to claim victory against his former head coach.

Sasha Djordjevic worked as a head coach in Athens for the Greens for one season (2015-16). Fenerbahce dropped to 1-1, after starting the season with a tough road win over Zvezda.

“We didn’t give up to the end. I think we fought until the end, when we were 5 points down, I told the guys, keep believing, as I thought we still had a chance. We have to build on this,” Nedovic said after the end of the game. 

Zenit Saint Petersburg,Jordan Loyd fine EuroLeague start

Jordan Loyd was one of the top scorers in EuroLeague last year, playing for the Serbian powerhouse Crvena Zvezda. Now, he did the same thing for Zenit St. Petersburg in Kaunas, leading the team to its second EuroLeague win.

Loyd had an excellent night putting up 19 points, one assist, a steal and a 19 PIR evaluation. He scored eight of his team’s 15 in the fourth quarter, including a key jumper with 27 seconds left, and two free throws with 9.9 seconds on the clock to hold off a late Zalgiris comeback.

“It was great to see the fans and play in front of the fans. As a team, we had a really bad showing a couple of days ago in VTB and we just wanted to bounce back, we wanted to fight, regardless of the outcome,” said Loyd.

“We just wanted to show some character, some personality, and we did that tonight. They’re a great team, especially with the crowd behind them, but we just tried to stick to coach’s plan, play great defense and then secure the rebounds, and we did a great job of that down the stretch.”

Crvena Zvezda secures road win against Maccabi for the first time since 2017

Crvena Zvezda bounced back in excellent fashion, after opening the season with a loss at home to Fenerbahce. The ‘Reds’ were able to secure the victory over Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv.

This was the first win in four years for Crvena Zvezda in Tel-Aviv. Zvezda’s only other road win over Maccabi came on January 19, 2017, when it prevailed 67-71.

Nikola Kalinic sealed his team’s victory with an outstanding all-around performance that included 19 points, five rebounds, five assists and one steal.

“We played tough. We tried to play good defense. We put a lot of pride in it. We are feeling good right now. We just need to keep playing like this and give our best in every game and we’ll see,” Kalinic said on the Reds’ victory.

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