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Without Navarro and Doellman but with the enormous Ante Tomic and Tibor Pleiss, FC Barcelona recorded a key victory in Turkey against Galatasaray in the final game of the Euroleague Top 16. The blaugranes showed no signs of relaxation in the 88-65 victory away in Istanbul despite the fact that before the game they knew that they were already through to the next phase of the competition. Xavi Pascual’s side recorded their eighth successive win in the competition in usual circumstances given the game was played behind closed doors due to the Turkish side having been punished for crowd trouble in a previous Top 16 game.
Barça dominating on the boards
Without the usual hostile atmosphere in the Abdi Ipekçi Arena, Barça were able to settle into the game and thanks to great work from Ante Tomic in the first quarter, the Croatian racked up 10 points, backed up by Satoransky and Nachbar, the Catalans took a 21-17 lead at the end of the first quarter. Galatasaray came back at the beginning of the second quarter to take the lead with Barça’s percentage shooting taking a hit in the meantime. The figure of the German Tibor Pleiss brought Barça back to an even keel with a series of plays on offense and defense that rallied Xavi Pascual’s team and gave them a 39-34 lead at half time.
Strong until the end
The second half began with a basket from Deshaun Thomas that signalled the beginning of a period of dominance for the blaugranes. A three-pointer from Satoransky gave Barça a ten point lead and Tomic extended that advantage to 12 points at 51-39. The home side rallied with three from Micov helping to reduce the deficit to seven points at 51-44. However, that served just to inspire Tomic as he unleashed seven unanswered points to give the visitors a 13 point lead once again. Three pointers from Huertas and Oleson, combined with the appearance of Hezonja helped the blaugranes close out the victory which sees them take second place in Group E. The win sets up a tie against Greek side Olympiakos in the next round in which Barça will have home court advantage in the best of five contest.
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