Barça are through to the last eight of the Euroleague, and are on fine course to seal second place in the group. They refused to be intimidated by the 20,000 people packing the Belgrade Arena and carried the weight of the first half before struggling with a third period charge from the home side, led by an immense Marjanovic, to eventually secure the win with a solid and workmanlike performance towards the end.
From the first seconds of the game, a titanic battle between Marjanovic and Tomic ensued. The home side had the slight edge (9-6 after 4 mins), but Satoransky and Navarro kept Barça in contention. Marjanovic took 8 of the home side’s first 12 points, but Barça, assisted by some top scoring from Thomas, led 12-15 after 7 minutes. The period ended with three minutes going without score before Tejic beat the buzzer to tie things at 15-15.
Marjanovic was rested for the second period, and that’s when Huertas came into his own, boosting Barça to 17-25, whereupon two 3-pointers from Oleson froze the Belgrade Arena. All of a sudden Barça were eleven ahead at 21-32. Red Star reacted with a 7-0 streak and the half ended with the Serbs very much back in contention (32-37).
Midway through the third period, the home side pulled back level at 41-41. Yet another Oleson triple blew new life into Barça, but Red Star intensified their game, limiting Barça to just 11 points in the whole period and leading going into the final ten minutes at 50-48.
Everything was set up for a gripping finale, but Barça were better side just when it mattered most. Satoransky’s offensive rebounds were providential, Navarro assumed the responsibility and Tomic gave everything he had. A Navarro three put Barça eight up following a 6-20 streak to make it 56-64. That looked to be enough. But Red Star then staged yet another comeback to make it 67-70. On the basis of 3-pointers, the Serbians were on the verge of snatching the win at the very last gasp, but the Catalans kept their cool and managed to protect their lead, eventually coming home 73-77 winners after an intense evening in Belgrade.