Galatasaray snaps losing streak with 87-79 home win over Zalgiris
Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul said goodbye to its four-game losing streak and hello to a promising new contributor with an 87-79 home win Friday against Zalgiris Kaunas. Coupled with CSKA Moscow beating EA7 Emporio Armani Milan simultaneously, Galatasaray was able to rise out of last place by improving to a 5-12 record. Point guard Bruno Fitipaldo, in just his third Turkish Airlines EuroLeague game, led the winners with 21 points while making 4 of 7 three-pointers and dishing 6 assists. Big man Tibor Pleiss scored 8 of his 17 in the first quarter as Galatasaray took the initiative, while Sinan Guler scored 10 of his 16 in the fourth. Vladimir Micov added 11 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists for Galatasaray. Brock Motum led Zalgiris with 18 points, while Paulius Jankunas had 14, Lukas Lekavicius 11 and Leo Westermann 10 to go with 8 assists. Zalgiris, which drew within a point twice in the final quarter, the last time at 74-73, could never get over the hump and dropped to 11-6.
A tip-in by Pleiss and a triple by Arturas Milaknis got their teams going. Pleiss was back with a three-point play to make it 5-4 and Fitipaldo added a corner triple for the hosts. Robertas Javtokas made a second-chance reverse that Pleiss answered with another three-point conversion at 11-6 as his teammates kept finding him near the basket. Motum dunked and dropped an alley-oop pass from Westerman to close the gap, but again Pleiss got free for a dunk at 13-10. Lekavicius and Edgaras Ulanovas combined on 5 of 6 free throws as Zalgiris took the lead back, but Blake Schilb drilled a baseline jumper for a 15-15 tie. Motum broke it on a driving layup and Alex Tyus matched him at the foul line for a 17-17 score after 10 minutes. Micov's free throws and a first basket by Jankunas kept it tied. Micov broke it with a drop shot before teammate Goksenin Koksal drilled a triple. Zalgiris got a put-back dunk from Lima and a triple from Milanknis. Micov's triple from the corner was seconded by Guler at 34-26, but Motum answered from long distance for Zalgiris. Motum soon drove from the three-point line for a dunk to keep Zalgiris close, but Guler drove all the way downcourt in 4 seconds for a layup to keep Galatasaray up 40-34 at the half.
Westermann fed Lima for an alley-oop layup that Fitipaldo answered with a corner triple right after halftime. Westermann was good from deep, too, but Fitipaldo was back at work from the same spot. When Koksal also drilled from long distance, Galatasaray had its first double-digit lead, 49-39. Lima's 4 perfect free throws and a triple by Kevin Pangos soon cut that to 49-46. Fitipaldo had another triple in him and Micov a short basket as Galatasaray restored a double-digit advantage, 59-49. Fitipaldo fed Pleiss for a layup and made another himself, but Zalgiris was able to get as close as 65-57 on a layup by Jankunas to end the third quarter. Lekavicius, with a layup and a second-chance triple, quickly cut the difference to 65-62 in the fourth quarter. That's when Guler came off the bench to answer from downtown, but Jankunas got a pair of inside baskets and then put back a rebound to make it 69-68. Guler's acrobatic driving layup calmed Galatasaray, then he stepped back for a triple to force a Zalgiris timeout at 74-68. Westermann stepped up with the visitors' answer, also from long distance, before Jankunas pumped in a jumper at 74-73 with 3 minutes left. Pleiss downed a sky-hook for Galatasaray, then Guler drove for another tough layup at 78-73. Pangos responded with a drop shot for Zalgiris with 2 minutes left, but Fitipaldo made his while slipping in the paint for an 80-75 scoreboard. Pleiss added a bank shot at 82-75 entering the final minute and Galatasaray made enough free throws the rest of the way to put its four-game losing streak in the past and climb out of last place.
Friday, January 13, 2017