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EuroLeague Diaries: William Howard saves ASVEL with a prayer; FC Barcelona stays perfect at home

Photo: EuroLeague Basketball

EuroLeague Round 12 came to an end with three blowouts and one classic matchup between AS Monaco and LDCL ASVEL, which was the first game in the competition this century between French League teams.

Olympiacos set multiple records in Milan, while FC Barcelona kept its perfect record at home. Let’s dive in to the action of the second day of Round 12.

William Howard saves ASVEL with a half-court prayer

The first EuroLeague game this century between French League teams could not have been more dramatic, with the lead changing hands 22 times before LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne edged AS Monaco 84-85 on William Howard’s buzzer-beating half-court.

Howard finished the game with career highs of 37 minutes, 23 points, 10 rebounds and 3 steals in a night that the guard duo of Elie Ekobo and Chris Jones weren’t their usual selves. Howard finished the contest with a career high of 33 PIR.

ASVEL would trail by 3 points with 90 seconds left and by 2 points with 3 seconds remaining, before Howard decided the game on a remarkable play that included a half-court buzzer-beater shot.

ASVEL faced Monaco for the first time since 1975 in a European competition. Monaco and ASVEL met in the Korac Cup quarterfinals in a home-and-away series.

The first game in Monaco was similarly dramatic with the same winner, ASVEL, prevailing 96-97. The second game in Villeurbanne, however, was a blowout for the home team (106-76).

“I knew the shot was good at the end of the game. I almost lost the ball, but I fixed my mistake right after. I’m really happy because it’s a tough situation for us with all the injuries we have and the missing guys, so I’m glad we fought until the end and got the win,” Howard said on his big shot.

FC Barcelona comfortably remains perfect at home

FC Barcelona had no problem putting an end to Zalgiris Kaunas’ mini winning streak in front of their home crowd. As a result, the Catalans remained perfect at home and at the top of the EuroLeague standings.

FC Barcelona found great point guard play from Nicolas Laprovittola and Rokas Jokubaitis. The duo combined for 15 of the hosts’ 27 assists, as the former dished 8 and the latter signed off a career-high 7.

Jokubaitis was Barca’s top contributor with 15 points, tying his career-best against his former team. The promising guard signed with FC Barcelona last summer.

Nigel Hayes also faced his former club, as he spent the previous two seasons in Kaunas. He posted 12, two assists and just one turnover in his first game against his former club.

“It was difficult to keep maximum concentration because it was my first club, I spent a lot of years there, and I feel respect for them and the club.

I feel honored to play against them. We got the win, but you know, the feeling of playing against my former team was amazing,” Jokubaitis said after the game.

Olympiacos set multiple record in big win vs Milan

Olympiacos bounced back from a painful loss in the Greek League to league and EuroLeague rivals Panathinaikos by decimating Milan away from home.

The “Reds” achieved their first win away from home this season, while they set multiple club and EuroLeague records. Olympiacos reached the 60-point mark right before halftime when Tyler Dorsey hit a pair of free throws.

The “Reds” scored 7 of 11 two-point shots and tied a EuroLeague record for most three-pointers in a half (12) in 16 attempts.

Its previous record was 59 points in a first half against FC Bayern Munich in 2013 and Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz in 2014. The “Reds” set a new club record for most three-pointers in a game, hitting 18 against Milan.

Giannoulis Larentzakis buried five shots from beyond the arc and Tyler Dorsey added four. Sasha Vezenkov and Kostas Papanikolaou hit 2 triples each while Georgios Printezis, Shaquielle McKissic and Thomas Walkup add one apiece.

“All the guys stepped up tonight. It was a big game for us and we finally got our first road win. It is still early in the season. We have to go week by week,” Dorsey said after the game.

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