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Nathan Jawai / PHOTO: ÀLEX CAPARRÓS -FCB

Barça Regal defeated Partizan Belgrade at the always difficult Pionir this evening. The Blaugrana, who continue to be undefeated in Europe, will close out this phase of the Euroleague against CSKA at the Palau. With tonight’s victory Barça guaranteed themselves the top spot in the group as long as they don’t lose their next match by 20 points.

Close start

Both teams started out intensely in the first quarter but neither side managed to take a clear advantage. Partizan were led by a brutal Muesli while Barça Regal stood their ground. The Blaugrana didn’t allow the home team to get too far ahead and they even managed to take a four-point lead before the first 10 minutes were up. However, Muesli, accompanied by Gordic and Milosavlejvic, turned the game around with a 6-0 run to take the match to 12 to 10. The first quarter ended with 14 to 13 on the scoreboard.

Stuck

The start of the second half was marked by a technical foul by Juan Carlos Navarro. In the blink of an eye Partizan jumped to a 20 to 13 lead. A 6-0 run from the home team forced Xavi Pascual to call time out, but the Serbians managed to take their lead to 11 + points over the Blaugrana. However, Barça Regal were patient and they slowly clawed their way back within striking distance. Another technical foul against Barça Regal, this time it was on Wallace, marked the game. Despite the setbacks, Pascual’s men managed to improve their performance as time ticket off the clock and they went to the break with only a five point disadvantage (30-25).

Match decided in overtime

The start of the second half saw Sada execute a fantastic 2 +1 play that brought Barça Regal within two points. That’s when Partizan started to have problems and a three pointer from Navarro, his team’s first of the game, put Barça Regal in front. However, neither side from that point on until the end of the quarter were able to pull away. The quarter ended with 44 to 43 on the scoreboard.

Five consecutive points from Rabaseda in the last quarter - a three pointer and a field goal - put Barça Regal in front by two. The Blaugrana were comfortable on the court as they regained the fluidity that was lacking in the three previous quarters. However, a three pointer from Westermann put the home side back in the thick of it. The buzzer blared with 58 point apiece on the scoreboard.

The game would be decided in overtime. With 15 seconds left in the 5 minutes of added time, Marcelinho scored two free throws that gave Barça Regal a one-point lead. Partizan’s last attack didn’t end in a basket thanks to a block from Jawai. Hard-fought victory for the Blaugrana.

MATCH FACTS

Partizan, 67
FCB Regal, 68

Partizan (14+16+14+14+9): Gordon (3), Bogdanovic (2), Lucic (10), Westermann (6), Musli (12) -starting five- Milosavljevic (14), Gordic (6), Bertans (2), Gagic (12), Cakarevic (-), Milutinovic (-) and Andusic (-).

FCB Regal (13+12+18+15+10): Jasikevicius (7), Ingles (9), Mickeal (8), Wallace (7), Jawai (8) -starting five- Tomic (4), Huertas (5), Navarro (10), Sada (4), Todorovic (1) and Rabaseda (5).

Referees: Robert Lottermoser, Jakub Zamojski and Anastasios Piloidis.

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