Barça Lassa narrowly missed out on victory in what’s never an easy trip to Estudiantes (83-81), where a little more fortune would have painted a very different story. The Catalans were on top for most of the game, with Koponen (15 points) and Tomic (18 points) leading the way. In fact, other than a short period at the very start, the home side didn’t go ahead again until the final minutes of overtime.
In front of a vociferous home crowd of 13,500, Estudiantes also looked the fresher of the teams after getting a fortnight off while Barça and seven other teams were in Vitoria competing for the Copa del Rey.
An 11-point streak in the first period had put Barça into the first meaningful lead (14-19), while fine defence was to thank to the first double-figure difference (23-33 on the first quarter of an hour). But nine lost balls in the second period were the key to the Madrid-based side staying in contention (33-35 at the break).
3-pointers were Barça’s most lethal weapon in the third, and if it hadn’t been for a fine display from Edwin Jackson for the locals, that might have been enough to put this game to bed. Instead, at 56-62, there was still work to be done.
Oleson’s five points early in the final period seemed to have done just that (58-71), but Estudiantes refused to throw in the towel and a late surge meant the game was heading into overtime (74-74).
At 82-80, Barça were behind for the first time since it had been 14-13 in the first period and from there on, Estudiantes managed to hang on for an 83-81 win.