Kyle Kuric and Dante Exum hit three-pointers in a late 15-2 late run as FC Barcelona held off FC Bayern Munich 71-66 on Tuesday night at Palau Blaugrana. Kuric finished with a game-high 20 points and Nikola Mirotic chipped in 13 points in the victory.
Barcelona uses late run to fend off Bayern 71-66
The victory was Barca's third win in the last four games to improve to 18-5 and remain in second place. Exum scored all 9 of his points in the final 13 minutes and Nick Calathes tallied 8 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists for the home side. Bayern saw its three-game winning streak snapped in dropping to 11-12. Vladimir Lucic poured in 16 points and Ognjen Jaramaz added 15 points in the loss.
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Barcelona needed nearly 2 minutes to start the scoring with a Mirotic three-pointer. Corey Walden’s jumper was Bayern’s first points after about 3 minutes. Leon Radosevic drained a three-pointer to give Bayern its first lead 3-5. The hosts continued to struggle offensively with Mirotic only scoring their second basket with 3 minutes left in the quarter. After Brandon Davies free throws, Bayern answered with 4 points only to see Kuric even the game 9-9 after 10 minutes.
Bayern opened the second quarter with back-to-back triples from Deshaun Thomas and Andi Obst for a 9-15 lead. Kuric punched back with 2 straight three-pointers to even the game and Roland Smits’s layup put Barcelona back ahead 17-15. The game went back and forth the rest of the first half with Smits and Jaramaz both getting 4 points for their respective teams with five ties and seven lead changes. Bayern led going into intermission, 28-29.
The offensive struggles of both teams returned to start the second half as Barcelona needed more than 2 minutes before Kuric’s free throws. Kuric added a three-pointer for a 33-29 lead. Bayern couldn’t score for 3 minutes when Jaramaz finally hit for the guests. Bayern played tough defense and kept Barcelona scoreless for nearly 3 minutes with Jaramaz adding another basket in a 0-8 surge to pull ahead 33-37. Rokas Jokubaitis snapped the drought with 3 points and Exum’s free throws and driving hook finished an 8-0 answer as Barcelona regained the lead 41-37. The score was 45-41 after 30 minutes.
Davies started the fourth-quarter scoring to extend the lead to 47-41. Lucic drained a corner three-pointer and made 3 free throws at the other end to knot the game at 47-47. Walden added a triple to give Bayern the lead. The leaders of both teams stepped up with one big shot after the next; a Mirotic score and Calathes three-point play were matched by Lucic triples for a 54-58 advantage. Nick Weiler-Babb also hit from long range and the visitors led 56-61. Bayern failed to score for 2 minutes and Barcelona got a Kuric three-pointer and Davies three-point play in a 10-0 run to pull ahead. After Augustine Rubit finally scored again for Bayern, Exum drained a triple for a 69-63 cushion with 81 seconds remaining. Mirotic delivered the final knockout punch with 50 seconds to play.