| Fenerbahce Ulker pulled off a major accomplishment in Group C by rallying from 5 points down with 3 minutes left to steal a 67-70 road win over DKV Joventut in Badalona, Spain on Thursday. The victory gave Fenerbahce a piece of second place in Group C with a 2-1 record while dropping Joventut to 1-2. A tip-in by Ogur Savas with 12 seconds left proved the game-winner after a back-and-forth battle that assured a close finish. Fenerbahce used its size advantage to build a 17-26 advantage early in the second quarter but Joventut answered with a 20-2 run that overlapped halftime and gave it control of the scoreboard, but only briefly. Fenerbahce fought back to take small leads for brief moments all the way into the last 5 minutes of the game. Joventut led 61-56 on technical free throws with just under 3 minutes left, but failed to use the advantage as Devin Smith hit a key triple before the Savas tip-in and free throws by Emir Preldzic sealed a win that shocked the local crowd. Preldzic led the winners with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals. Smith dropped 12 points and Mirsad Turkcan 11 to go with 9 rebounds for the winners. Simas Jasaits paced Joventut with 15 points, while Demond Mallet added 13 and Bracey Wright 10. Fenerbahce's 27-39 advantage in rebounds proved key, too. Joventut sorely missed injured big man Pops Mensah-Bonsu, who went down with a shoulder injury and didn't play, joining guard Ricky Rubio on the injured list.
Both teams found trouble getting started until Wright's steal sent Jagla for a dunk and Preldzic's offensive rebound resulted in Turkcan making it 2-2 on a nice cut. Preldzic popped a triple off a screen forFenerbahce's first lead and Vidmar added to it with a tip-in. When Preldzic measured another from deep, the visitors had a 2-10 advantage. Wright drove for an acrobatic layup, but Turkcan backed in and matched it. After several misses, Jasaitis downed Joventut's first three-pointer, but Fenerbahce, contesting every rebound, got another tip-in from Turkcan at 9-14. When Joventut lost another defensive rebound, coach Sito Alonso had seen enough and changed his entire starting five. Pau Ribas immediately drove for a runner and Christian Eyenga made a huge block on Devin Smith. Ferrran Laviña got to the line and made both to cut the difference to 13-14. Off the Fenerbahce bench, Damir Kaan Mrsic buried a triple and two free throws, however, and Fenerbahce kept dominating the boards to a 13-19 lead after 10 minutes.
Henk Norel took a pick-and-roll feed from Mallet and Luka Bogdanovic rolled for a hook shot that charged up the Joventut crowd. But soon enough, Smith restarted Fenerbahce with a big triple and Oguz Savas loomed over everyone for a pair of drop-ins that made it 17-26 and forced a Joventut timeout. Jasaitis returned with a much-needed corner triple before Wright went coast-to-coast to clsoe the gap again to 22-26. Next, Mallet found Jasaitis for another blast from teh same corner, but Savas interrupted the hosts' run with a deft hook shot for Fenerbahce. But not for long, Ribas measured a big triple that landed for a 28-28 tie, and now it was Fenerbahce head coach Bogdan Tanjevic's turn to talk with his team. While Fenerbahce kept missing, however, Mallet hit a face-up triple and stole to feed Laviña for a layup that made it 33-28. And when Eduardo Hernadez-Sonseca dropped a foul-line jumper, Joventut had an 18-2 run and a 35-28 halftime lead that had seemed improbable just 7 minutes earlier.
A quiet minute after halftime ended with Hernnandez-Sonseca extending Joventut's run, before Green connected from downtown for Fenerbahce. Mallet fed Wright for a reverse layup that Vidmar matched with a jump hook and bettered with another as Fenerbahce closed within 39-35. Jagla hooked in an offensive rebound for Joventut, but Preldzic looped a runner in response. Green and Wright traded baskets in the lane for a 43-49 scoreboard that stalled their through a series of misses. Mrsic lifted Fenerbahce's hopes with a corner triple, but Jagla dashed them just as quickly from downtown to end the quarter with Joventut clincing to a 46-42 lead.
Teenage big man Enes Kanter got loose inside, made the shot and the free throw that came with it to move Fenerbahce forward at the start of the final quarter. Turkcan completed his team's surge with a game-tying trile at 48-48. Again, however, Joventut answered with the same coin, a Bogdanvoic strike from the arc. Smith got Fenerbahce within 51-50 on a layup, but missed the next. After a TV timeout, Turkcan drop-stepped for a nice layup to give Fenerbahce the lead again. Joventut took a timeout, right after which Mallet and Smith hit dueling triples, pointing the way to a close finish with under 5 minutes left and a 54-55 score. A pair of free throws by Wright put Joventut back in front, then Jasaitis came out of nowhere for a tip-in, but Preldzic got to the line to make it 58-56. When Mallet pulled up for a triple on the break, however, he was fouled and buried all 3 free throws to give Joventut breathing room at 61-56 with 3 minutes left. Smith got to the line for 2 free throws, but off the ball, Turkcan was whistled for a technical foul that let Mallet make 2 of his own. Preldzic stole, was fouled and made both foul shots then got fouled on a defensive rebound and made another pair for a 63-61 score. Jasaitis came off the bench and drove for a basket, but, on the run and with a defender all over him, Smith buried a huge triple to make it 65-64. When Joventut turned the ball over again, Green fed Savas alone underneath as Fenerbache took over the lead again, 65-66, with 35 seconds left. A foul by Preldzic put Jasaitis on the line, and he made both to retake the lead at 67-66 with 29.6 seconds to go. With 12 left, Savas tipped in a miss by Smith and at the other end, Jasaitis was stripped by Green, leading to an intentional foul. Preldzic made both of them and Fenerbahce walked away with a huge road win in Group C.
Thursday, November 6, 2008