Barcelona have gone 9-0 in Group D of the Euroleague after seeing off Partizan 68-67 after a period of overtime at the Pionir Hall.
The Liga Endesa side never looked out of first gear as Partizan punished various errors made by the team that many people think are the favourites for this year’s European club championship crown. A 10-0 run in the early stages of the second quarter gave the Serbian champions a 24-13 lead, but Barca hit back and towards the end of the third led by a point only to be thwarted by a bucket from Dejan Musli to give the hosts a 44-43 lead, headed to the fourth.
Barcelona had two chances to win the game at the end of regulation but both attempts from Pete Mickael and CJ Wallace fell short, sending the game to an extra period. Nothing changed in that overtime session, as both sides fought tooth and nail for the win. In the end, after Marcelinho Huertas sunk free throws to give Barcelona the lead, an attempted floater in the lane from Djorde Gagic was blocked by Australian Nathan Jawai, giving the Catalan team the victory.
Juan Carlos Navarro was the only Barca player in double figures with 10 points, Dragan Milosavljevic led all scorers for Partizan with 14 points as they fall to 2-7 in the group and will need to beat Brose Baskets in the final week to advance to the Top 16.
“We did not open the game well, but we grew step by step,” Barcelona coach Xavi Pascual said afterwards. “I think we were very good in the final period and in overtime. This is a very important win for us.”
Mapooro Cantu kept its hopes of progression to the Top 16 alive with a surprise 76-70 success over Real Madrid in Italy.
This win improved Cantu to 3-6 in Group A but if Fenerbahce beats Panathinaikos this Friday night, they will be eliminated. Madrid drop to 6-3 but are already through.
Manuchar Markoishvili led Cantu with a sublime showing of 23 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks to single-handedly help the Italians to victory. Jaycee Carroll led the Real Madrid cause with 24 himself.
Unicaja Malaga are tied for first place with Maccabi Electra in Group B at 7-2 after recording a 74-63 road win at Alba Berlin.
Malaga can win the group if they beat Elan Chalon next week and Maccabi fails to beat Alba Berlin. This result was more for the standings than anything else as both teams are already through to the Top 16.
Marcus Williams led Malaga with 16 points, supported by Luka Zoric’s 12. Sven Schultze led the Berliners with 12 points.
“It’s a big win for us,” Williams said. “We had a difficult start to the game, but overall I think that we played a strong game. We played good defence in the second half and executed well on offence.”
Alba Berlin guard Vule Avdalovic came out of the game in its closing stages with a knee injury, it is unclear what is happening at this time.
Maccabi Electra stayed on pace with Unicaja at the top of Group B thanks to a comfortable 89-73 win over already eliminated Asseco Prokom.
Ricky Hiickman did the damage again, as he piled on 20 points, helped by veteran Lior Eliyahu, who scored 16. The Poles were fronted by 14 from Rasid Mahalbasic.
Newly-crowned Euroleague Player of the Month for November, Vassilis Spanoulis led champions Olympiacos to an 84-62 win over Cedevita Zagreb in Croatia.
Last season’s Final Four MVP led with 14 points as the Reds – already through from Group C now improve to 7-2. Zagreb’s hopes of a placement in to the next round have taken a major blow as they fall to 2-7.
Macedonian Vlado Ilievski led the Croats with 14 points.
CSKA Moscow beat Besiktas in the Russian capital 87-72 despite both teams advancing to the Top 16 via Group D.
Sonny Weems, who has fallen off the radar slightly since his bright opening to the Euroleague season came back with a bang to lead CSKA with 20 points. Besiktas were led by Patrick Christopher’s 14.