McCalebb, Kleiza lead Fener to third straight win
Fenerbahce Ulker grabbed its third consecutive win in Top 16 Group E by edging defending Turkish Airlines Euroleague champion Olympiacos Piraeus 78-74 at home on Friday. Fenerbahce and Olympiacos join Unicaja Malaga and Panathinaikos Athens in a four-way tie for third place in Group F, each with a 4-4 record. Linas Kleiza paced the winners with 21 points. Bo McCalebb added 20 for Fenerbahce. Stratos Perperoglou and Kostas Sloukas led Olympiacos with 17 points apiece while Vangelis Mantzaris added 10. Bojan Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica combined for all the points in a 9-0 opening run, but Olympiacos found a go-to guy in Perperoglou, who got help from Georgios Printezis to give the Reds a 15-16 edge. A wild step-back jumper by Sloukas put the Reds back ahead, 21-22, after 10 minutes. Kleiza took over throughout the second quarter, allowing Fenerbahce to go ahead 41-38 at halftime. McCalebb and Kleiza shined after the break, leading Fenerbahce to a 59-51 lead after 30 minutes. The hosts led by 10 with three minutes left, but Mantzaris and Sloukas brought Olympiacos within 76-74. Free throws by Kleiza sealed the outcome down the stretch.
First quarter: Perperoglou shines to lead Reds
Head coach Georgios Bartzokas surprised everyone by starting playmaker Dimitris Katsivelis for the first time this season. Nemanja Bjelica got Fenerbahce going with a three-pointer and a layup by Bojan Bogdanovic gave the hosts a 5-0 lead. Bjelica kept pushing Fenerbahce with a wild coast-to-coast layup and a mid-range jumper by Bogdanovic capped a 9-0 opening run. Bryant Dunston scored down low and a reverse layup by Perperoglou got Olympiacos rolling. Bogdanovic scored in penetration, but back-to-back layups by Georgios Printezis brought the guests closer, 11-8. Perperoglou struck from downtown and matched Bo McCalebb's driving layup with free throws for a 13-13 tie. Luka Zoric dunked, but Perperoglou split foul shots and added a jumper to give Olympiacos its first lead, 15-16. McCalebb scored again and a three-point play by Zoric gave Fenerbahce a 20-16 edge. Free throws by Perperoglou and a jumper by Dunston tied it at 20-20. A foul shot by McCalebb and a step-back jumper by Kostas Sloukas fixed the score at 21-22 after 10 exciting minutes.
Second quarter: Kleiza puts Fenerbahce ahead
Linas Kleiza nailed a corner three-pointer early in the second quarter. Sloukas sank a baseline jumper, but Emir Preldzic found his first points for a 26-24 Fenerbahce edge. McCalebb shined with a big driving basket, which Sloukas improved with a bomb from downtown to make it 28-27. After Kleiza made free throws, Cedric Simmons scored around the basket. An off-balance basket by Omer Onan restored a 32-29 Fenerbahce edge. Olympiacos tried a more dynamic lineup with Perperoglou and Jamario Moon at both forwards. Zoric scored down low, as Fenerbahce adjusted its defense off a timeout. A red-hot Kleiza buried a five-meter jumper that boosted the hosts' lead to 36-29. Perperoglou nailed his trademark step-back triple, but Bogdanovic split free throws. A three-pointer by Vangelis Mantzaris caused Fenerbahce to call timeout at 37-35. Kleiza scored again, but Matt Lojeski dunked off a steal. Free throws by Blagota Sekulic gave the hosts a 41-37 edge. A foul shot by Printezis brought the champs within 41-38 at halftime.
Third quarter: Fenerbahce uses defense to take off
Both teams struggled to score after the break until Sloukas swished a five-meter jumper. McCalebb split free throws and found Kleiza for a three-pointer that gave Fenerbahce a 45-40 edge. McCalebb insisted with foul shots and a driving layup that made it a 9-point game. Simmons silenced the crowd with a slam before Zoric nailed a close jumper. A layup by Printezis kept Olympiacos within 51-44. Printezis struck from downtown, as Fenerbahce tried a smaller lineup with Kleiza and Bjelica around the baskets. Kleiza hit free throws and banked in a jump hook to restore a 56-47 Fenerbahce lead. Free throws by Bjelica and McCalebb made it a double-digit game, 59-49. Olympiacos struggled to find open shots, as Fenerbahce was all over the place with its physical, adjusted man-to-man defense. Dunston rescued the Reds with a put-back basket that brought Olympiacos within 59-51.
Fourth quarter: Fener gets win, Olympiacos saves tiebreaker
Dunston scored in the paint early in the fourth quarter, but Melih Mahmutoglu answered from downtown for a 62-53 Fenerbahce lead. Sloukas nailed a three-pointer, but McCalebb fed Bjelica for a slam and a 64-56 Fenerbahce edge. Olympiacos struggled to score right when it mattered most, as Fenerbahce hustled for every loose ball with great intensity. McCalebb made free throws to restore a double-digit Fenerbahce lead, 66-56, with six minutes left. Sloukas split free throws and a fade-away jumper by Perperoglou gave Olympiacos some hope at 66-59. Preldzic hit a jumper in the lane. Dunston split free throws before a driving layup by Bogdanovic gave the hosts a 70-60 lead with over three minutes left. Mantzaris followed a layup with a three-pointer, but Kleiza and McCalebb kept the hosts way ahead, 74-65. Mantzaris scored again, Lojeski shined with a three-point play and a fast break basket by Sloukas gave the Reds hope at 74-72, with 36 seconds left. After McCalebb nailed a five-meter jumper, Sloukas made free throws. Olympiacos fouled on Kleiza with 13 seconds left. He calmly made both attempts, allowing Fenerbahce to celebrate a critical and well-deserved win!
Friday, February 28, 2014