Barea still not enough

Casademont Zaragoza defeats Movistar Estudiantes with a magnificent third quarter. The point guard finishes with 14 points and 3 assists.


6 days are many days. More than a month Movistar Estudiantes had not played because of the storm Filomena and the coronavirus outbreak that hit the squad. And that leisurely life returned as it left, with defeat. That distant December 29 was against Iberostar Tenerife. Tonight on Wednesday, in one of the five games postponed due to those mishaps, against Casademont Zaragoza. The differences? Alessandro Gentile was at that meeting and today not because of COVID-19, which also affected John Robertson (the disease took its toll and inactivity on the entire team) and Edwin Jackson. Contrary to the Italian, JJ Barea: the point guard, signed more than a week ago, could not make his debut against Acunsa GBC last weekend and played his first minutes today.

He did it against an opponent who is in the best moment of the season, with the descent a little further and the commandments of Sergio Hernández well learned: fast transitions and taking advantage of second chances with towers like Robin Benzing and Tryggvi Hlinason in The rebound. If Dylan Ennis is added to that, the result is 6 wins in the last 7 matches between Liga Endesa and FIBA Champions. The only black point, the beating of the last day against TD Systems. Every clerk has a blur.

Barea fixed all the lights. It did not disappoint. Nor did he make tears of joy come. He gave flashes of superclass, but it shows that the Puerto Rican still has a way to go after five months without playing. Scored 14 points in 24:29. He was the team's second leading scorer after Aleksa Avramovic (20). Of course, it was not fine: 3/10 of two and 2/7 in the triple. He distributed 3 assists and lost 3 balls. He also stole another 3 for 8 final valuation. But like all the Estudiantes showed two faces: good activity, control and vision of the game in the first half, to sink irremediably in the third quarter.

Everything was even until the break. Neither Madrid nor Zaragoza found that wand that would allow them to stretch on the scoreboard. Only the visitors had a demarcation attempt in the second quarter through quick transitions after home loss and defensive rebound, it was a short-lived +5 (22-27). In a matter of seconds they lost all advantage to leap back to the muddy ground that the duel had become. And all because of the 16 accumulated losses between the two and because of how narrow the rim was: 0/9 from the triple for 13 minutes. Javi García unblocked it with two in a row. Barea followed up with a couple. There was even a junior college moment with one from Domínguez. Roberson nailed last before halftime to make it 40-39.

In between, the Avramovic show, which does not understand inactivity. The Serbian achieved 7 of the first 9 points of the Estu in the resumption of the second act in addition to accumulating 3 assists. In total, in 14 minutes he shot 11 goals for Ennis's 10, who took advantage of his physical strength in the one on one. Not only he, the rest of the Casademont pulled their muscle to undermine the Madrid forces ... and to charge their pivots with fouls.

A disastrous third quarter

That equality was detonated in the blink of an eye on the way back from the locker room. In 180 seconds all the resistance of the Movistar collapsed like a sugar. They accumulated six losses in that period and four fouls in a minute due to the pressure of Sergio Hernández both in the exit of the ball and in the penetrations and in the rebound. It was a direct swath to the collegiate waterline in the form of a 2-15 partial that made it 42-54. A very hard blow for how little the third quarter had gone. The numbers in that period were a sad epitaph for those of Zamora: 11-22 of partial with 16 points between Ennis and Hlinason, 7 losses and 10 committed fouls. In evaluation 1-29. A messy and chaotic room. A third quarter made in Estudiantes where no one hit the button and the errors piled up like snow with Filomena.

And as usual, in the face of the stope received and the hell, a desperate reaction, which this time almost paid off. The bleeding of losses stopped as well as personal ones. And the wind blew calmer. Zaragoza saw victory in their hands and with two minutes ahead came the scare: 71-74 with Delgado and Vicedo biting their ankles in defense and on the rebound (8 and 7, respectively) and Avramovic doing magic. A mirage tinged with some controversy and an ugly action by Ennis, who after a mate that left the matter almost sentenced (71-76, min. 39) turned to Avramovic. The Serbian fired towards him without the blood reaching the river and without the referees interpreting anything punishable. Return with student defeat and on Sunday the derby against Madrid. And next Wednesday, a key match against Acunsa GBC.

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