Two teams will different goals will go against each other in Group C when Fenerbahce Ulker hosts Benetton Treviso in Istanbul on Wednesday at 19:15 CET. Fenerbahce (2-7) is already in a do-or-die situation and needs to start winning right away in order to advance to the Top 16. Meanwhile, Benetton (6-3) won four of its last five games and ca begin to aim high if it returns to Treviso with a valuable road win. Both teams faced each other in Treviso on November 8, with Benetton winning 93-83 behind 17 points each from Nikos Zisis and Marcus Goree. Kaspars Kambala (14.6 ppg.) had 25 points for Fenerbahce that night. Benetton will be without star power forward Goree (14.6 ppg., 7.3 rpg.), who is suffering from a calf injury and did not travel with the team to Turkey. With Goree down, Fenerbahce can focus on shutting down Treviso's motor, Zisis (13.2 ppg., 5.4 apg.), who leads the league in assists. Zisis sees time at both guard spots along with Terrell Lyday (8.9 ppg.) and Marco Mordente (11.6 ppg., 68% 3FG), who is playing better as the regular season advances. Willie Solomon (11 ppg., 4.2 apg.) will be the man to watch on Fenerbahce's perimeter, helped by Eddie Basdem (6 ppg.), Hakan Demirel and combo guard Omer Onan (5.1 ppg.), who had 13 points in his team's road loss against Pau-Orthez. With Richie Frahm still sidelined, team captain Matteo Moragna (8 ppg.) and forward Spencer Nelson (11.4 ppg., 7.7 rpg., 2.7 apg.) will see their playing time extended, as newcomer Preston Shumpert is ineligible to play until the start of the Top 16. Soragna will have the tough mission to guard legendary shooter Ibrahim Kutluay (13.9 ppg.), who will get some help from Damir Mrsic (10.3 ppg.) and Solomon for scoring duties. The battle in the paint will be interesting, as Fenerbahce is ready to fight with players like Kambala, rebounding machine Mirsad Turkcan (8.7 ppg., 9.6 rpg.), center Ira Clark (3 rpg.) and youngsters Oguz Savas (3.6 ppg.) and Semih Erden (5.7 ppg.). Benetton will look to Angelo Gigli (6.7 ppg., 57.1% 3FG) and especially Joey Beard (2.7 rpg.) to play crucial roles in this game, making up for Goree's production. Expect a balanced showdown, as this game may well crucial in the future of both teams.
Tuesday, January 2, 2007