Mensah-Bonsu's exhibition gives Galatasaray fourth win
In a tough defensive battle, Galatasaray Medical Park Istanbul bested Montepaschi Siena 54-52 at home on Thursday. Pops Mensah-Bonsu paced the winners with 16 points and 16 rebounds. He had 10 points and 7 rebounds in the fourth quarter to lead Galatasaray to victory. Sinan Guler added 12 points for Galatasaray, which improved to 4-2 in Group C. Daniel Hackett led Montepaschi with 16 points. An outstanding Benjamin Ortner allowed Montepaschi to tie the game, 11-11, after 10 minutes. A huge dunk by Mensah-Bonsu and a buzzer-beating layup by Ender Arslan tied it again, 22-22, in one of the lowest scoring first halves in Turkish Airlines Euroleague history. An outstanding Taylor Rochestie gave Montepaschi a 28-35 margin, but Guler had 10 points late in the third quarter to put Galatasaray back ahead, 40-38, through three quarters. Mensah-Bonsu took over early in the fourth quarter, but Hackett singlehandedly brought Montepaschi within 53-52 with 21 seconds left. Arslan split free throws and left an opening for the Italian champs, but Hackett missed from downtown at the end.
First quarter: Defenses set the stage early
Josh Carter got Montepaschi going with a four-meter jumper, as Galatasaray struggled to score in the first two minutes. Hackett struck from downtown for a 0-5 Montepaschi lead. Zoran Erceg stepped up with a layup, as the hosts improved their defense to avoid allowing open shots. Malik Hairston took over with a two-handed slam and a corner three by Huseyin Koksal gave Galatasaray its first lead, 7-5. Mensah-Bonsu scored down low to cap a 9-0 run before Ortner rescued Montepaschi with a jumper. Erceg copied him at the other end, as Montepaschi tried to speed up the game tempo with quick shots in transition. Galatasaray kept struggling to score and tried a different backcourt with Arslan, Henry Domercant and Cenk Akyol together on court. Ortner nailed a four-meter shot and soon added a fast break layup to tie the game, 11-11, at the end of the first quarter.
Second quarter: Pops provides the fireworks
Arslan fed Furkan Aldemir for a layup that put Galatasaray back ahead, 13-11, early in the second quarter. Montepaschi tried twin point guards with Taylor Rochestie and David Cournooh together. Jeff Viggiano took over with a two-handed slam that Arslan erased with a wild, off-balance basket. Aldemir had a huge block on Hackett and free throws by Hairston boosted the hosts' lead to 17-13. Othello Hunter stepped up with a high-flying tip-in and a baseline jumper by Erick Green tied the game again, 17-17. Galatasaray could not find the way to the basket and a free throw by Hackett put the guests back ahead, 17-18, after a 0-5 run. Erceg split foul shots, Hunter took over with a backdoor layup and a fast break basket by Viggiano made it a 4-point game. Mensah-Bonsu ignited the crowd with a huge tomahawk slam that caused Montepaschi to call timeout at 20-22. A buzzer-beating layup by Arslan fixed the halftime score at 22-22.
Third quarter: Guler fuels Galatasaray's comeback
Both teams kept struggling to score after the break. More than two minutes passed before until Carter banked in a corner three-pointer. Galatasaray could not get Arroyo and Mensah-Bonsu involved. Head coach Ergin Ataman found answers on offense by using two point guards with Arslan and Arroyo together on court. Arslan scored in penetration and free throws by Hairston put the hosts back ahead, 26-25. Mensah-Bonsu dunked, but Rochestie answered from downtown and fed Ortner for an easy dunk as Montepaschi regained the lead, 28-30. Viggiano finished a long Montepaschi offense with a three-pointer and Rochestie scored off a steal to boost the lead to 7. Sinan Guler tried to change things with a driving layup and a wild three-point play that brought Galatasaray within 33-35. Guler scored again and a big basket by Mensah-Bonsu forced Montepaschi to stop the game at 37-35. Carter and a red-hot Guler exchanged triples to fix the score at 40-38 after 30 minutes.
Fourth quarter: Mensah-Bonsu takes over and leads hosts to big win
Hackett struck from downtown early in the fourth quarter and a tip-in by Mensah-Bonsu put the hosts back ahead, 42-41. Hackett insisted with another three-pointer, but Mensah-Bonsu stayed on fire with a wild put-back basket. The game turned into a physical battle, as Galatasaray started to play more aggressively against Hackett. Mensah-Bonsu shined with another tip-in, but Hackett kept Montepaschi within 46-45 midway through the fourth quarter. Erceg swished a baseline jumper only for a steal by Carter to allow Hackett to score again. Guler shined with a driving layup and another big basket by an unstoppable Mensah-Bonsu made it 52-47 with less than five minutes to go. Rochestie scored around the basket before Erceg split free throws and a three-pointer by Hackett brought Montepaschi as close as 53-52 with 21 seconds to go. Montepaschi fouled Arslan, who split free throws, giving Montepaschi a last chance to win the game. When Hackett missed from downtown, the Galatasaray fans could celebrate a big home win.
Thursday, November 21, 2013