Aris TT Bank staved off elimination by stopping host Fenerbahce Ulker 59-60
Aris TT Bank registered its first win in Group E by edging Fenerbahce Ulker 59-60 in front of 11,000 fans at the Abdi Piecki Sports Hall on Wednesday night. Aris improved to 1-3 and grabbed its first Top 16 win this season. Meanwhile, Fenerbahce dropped to 2-2 and will at least tie for the second spot in this group at the end of this round. Jeremiah Massey paced the winners with 18 points and 8 rebounds, including the game-winning free throw with 9 seconds to go. Bracey Wright added 12 points on 5-for-6 two-point shooting for Aris. Willie Solomon and Omer Asik each had 13 points for Fenerbahce. Asik added 11 rebounds, 7 of them on the offensive end, and 5 blocks. Omer Onan had 12 points for the hosts, who trailed 16-25 early in the second quarter. Semih Erden and Onan brought the hosts within 32-34 at halftime. Hanno Mottola and an unstoppable Massey still kept Aris ahead, 45-50 after 30 minutes. Two quick triples by Onan gave Fenerbahce its first lead, 45-50, with seven minutes to go. The game went down to the wire, as Massey hit a foul shot for a 59-60 edge. Solomon missed a driving layup and Asik could not put the ball back in time to win it, as his last effort came after the buzzer.
Dimitris Tsaldaris needed just 4 seconds to fire in a corner triple, before the game was interrupted for almost 10 minutes due to a shot-clock problem. Wright sank a mid-range jumper and Vladimer Boisa nailed a wide open three-pointer for a 0-8 Aris lead. Fenerbahce had been scoreless for almost three minutes before Gasper Vidmar stepped up with a power layup. Wright kept pacing Aris with another jumper, which Vidmar matched with a driving layup. Massey found his first points on an easy layup and soon added a free throw to keep the guests ahead, 5-13. Asik stepped on court and immediately found a power layup, which Wright matched with a mid-range jumper. Asik shined again with a tip-in and Solomon added foul shots to get within 11-15. Massey followed a smooth move in the low post with a jump hook, but Onan kept Fenerbahce close with a floating jumper. Darius Washington hit from downtown before James White's driving layup brought the hosts within 15-22 after 10 minutes.
Reyshawn Terry took over with a three-point play to keep Aris way ahead, 16-25, early in the second quarter. Fenerbahce kept running its offense through its big men, as Erden and Asik combined to make 3 of 4 free throws. Erden added an easy basket while Damir Kaan-Mrsic sank one from downtown to cause Aris to call timeout, 23-25, after a 7-0 Fener run. Mottola stepped up with a big triple and soon added a two-handed dunk, as Aris improved its defense. The hosts kept missing quick shots until Erden provided a highlight with a monster dunk, but head coach Bogdan Tanjevic called timeout to fix Fener's offense. Aris had trouble rebounding with Asik and Erden back on court. An unstoppable Asik hit free throws and had a big block on Washington that allowed Onan to run the floor and tie the game, 30-30, setting the crowd on fire. Wright took over with a big basket, which Erden erased with free throws. Massey beat the buzzer with a put-back layup for a 32-34 Aris edge at the break.
Fenerbahce kept following its game plan, with intense defense and trying to get its big men involved. It was Massey, however, who was the first to score after the break on a power layup. The hosts had gone scoreless for almost three minutes before Solomon stepped up with a driving layup, which Boisa matched in the other end. Fener kept struggling to score, however, committing several quick turnovers. Meanwhile, Massey picked up a loose ball, drew a foul and made free throws for a 34-40 Aris lead midway through the third quarter. Solomon struck from downtown, but Massey provided a highlight with an outstanding power dunk over Vidmar. Solomon kept pacing Fener with free throws but Mottola scored at the other end. Massey added another power basket, while at the other end Solomon kept getting to the foul line often. Kaan-Mrsic buried a three-pointer to get Fenerbahce within 43-46. Wright nailed another jumper and added free throws before Asik scored in the paint to fix the score at 45-50 after 30 minutes.
Onan buried a three-pointer right at the start of the fourth quarter, but Mottola buried a six-meter jumper to keep Aris in charge, 48-52. Asik kept powering the offensive boards and made free throws, which Onan followed with another bomb from downtown to give Fenerbahce its first lead, 53-52, with seven minutes to go. Aris called a much-needed timeout and improved its defense with Massey back on court. Terry made free throws, but a foul shot by Onan tied the game again, 54-54. Fener struggled to even shoot in each possession now. Meanwhile, Terry sank a critical triple for a 54-57 Aris edge with four minutes remaining. Erden made foul shots, but a layup by Tsaldaris kept Aris ahead, 56-59. Fener missed 5 quick shots down the stretch, as Aris kept using long possessions. The guests called timeout in the final minute, however Solomon collected a steal, but immediately turned the ball over and sent Giorgios Kalaitzis to the line. Kalaitzis missed twice and then Solomon tied the game with a wild layup-plus-foul with 32 seconds to go. Washington missed from downtown, but Onan fouled Massey fighting for the long rebound. Massey made only 1 foul shots with 9 seconds to go, but Solomon missed a driving shot, Asik missed a put-back chance and scored after the buzzer, allowing Aris to escape with a major road win in thrilling fashion!
Wednesday, March 5, 2008