After losing a 25-point lead, Barcelona relied on Stratos Perperoglou to give them a lift as they eventually toppled Real Madrid 72-65 in the Euroleague Top 16.
For a chunk of the fourth quarter though, the Barcelona fans inside the Palau Blaugrana were on the edge of their seats, gradually losing any fingernails that they might have had, because they witnessed their Catalan heroes surrender a massive 31-6 lead early in the second period to see Jaycee Carroll nail a go-ahead three, giving Real Madrid a 54-52 lead in the early stages of the final quarter.
After an intense back-and-forth fourth quarter, Perperoglou stepped up for Barcelona to put them back in command and hold firm for the win.
Perperoglou had 20 points to lead Barcelona as they improve to 6-5 in Group F, level with their el’Clasico rivals.
“I am glad that we were able to win the game,” Perperoglou said. “A win against Madrid is always great and it was a very nice game. We started the game with a high rhythm but they are a great team and were able to come back. We showed our character in the end and turned the game around one more time.
“What is most important is that the team won: it doesn’t matter who played well. I felt good and tried to help my team, that’s all. It is difficult to beat Madrid three times but we were able to beat them one more time.”
CSKA Moscow has sole possession of top spot in Group F and have advanced to the quarter-final Playoffs after they beat Laboral Kutxa 90-78 in the Russian capital.
The Muscovites’ 8-3 record in Group F is enough to secure qualification to the next round due to Barcelona’s win over Real Madrid as Nando De Colo led the winners with 19 points, 16 of which came in the second half. Cory Higgins added 18 points for CSKA as he buried all four of his three-point attempts.
The third Group F encounter saw Bradley Wanamaker score 18 of his career-high 25 points in the final five minutes to rally Brose Baskets past visiting Khimki 84-79.
The win improves Bamberg’s record to 5-6 in Group F, as they hand new Khimki coach Dusko Ivanovic a defeat in his first game in charge.
In Group E and Lokomotiv Kuban’s place in the quarter-finals has been put on hold for another week as they fell 84-77 to Panathinaikos in Athens.
James Gist and Elliot Williams led the way with 16 points each for Panathinaikos, as they move to 7-4 and stand a good chance of qualification themselves to the Playoffs.
Lokomotiv drop to 7-4 but crucially hold a point difference advantage over the Greens. Matt Janning led the way with 16 points.
Fenerbahce secured home-court advantage in the Playoffs and clinched first place in Group E after they beat Darussafaka Dogus 77-69 in Istanbul.
Ekpe Udoh had 18 points and six rebounds in victory for Fenerbahce as the win all but eliminated Darussafaka Dogus from the Top 16.