Group B had one fewer undefeated leader and one new team in the hunt after Besiktas JK Cola Turka held on for a 74-73 home win against visiting BC FMP on Tuesday in Istanbul. Besiktas raised its record to 1-2 while FMP fell to 2-1 despite having led by double digits in the first half. Besiktas erased all of that even before the break and the two teams battled the rest of the way until Aubrey Reese's free throw with 12 seconds left decided it. Jamel Thomas led the winners with 21 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists while Reese had 20 and 5 assists. Erkan Veyseloglu added 15 points including key three-pointers in the final quarter. Zoran Erceg paced FMP with 14 points, while Predrag Samardziski added 13 and Djordje Micic 12.
FMP took an early 5-7 on a three-pointer by Ivan Zigeranovic but then failed to rebound enough to keep Besiktas down. The home team busted out on an 8-0 run over the next 2 minutes to lead 13-7 midway through the quarter on a tip-in by Brooks Sales. Strong inside play from Samardziski and forward Micic plus good defense held back Besiktas for the rest of this quarter as FMP put a 1-12 turnaround on the hosts. Samardziski's hook finished the first 10 minutes with the visitors in charge by 14-19. Besiktas stayed silent in the beginning of the second quarter, too, as FMP increased the lead to 11 points with back-to-back three-pointers from Erceg and Micic, whose strike from way downtown made the visitors' run reach 9-18 and the score reach 14-25. Then it was Besiktas’s turn. The home team cut the speed of Zeleznik with zone defense and took the control of the game. Reese got the comeback started with free throws and Thomas poured in 7 points before a dunk by Samardaski made it 23-27. Reese went to the line for 4 more points before driving for a basket to make it 30-31. Baris Ozcan took the lead for Besiktas with free throws and soon Thomas dunked off an excellent assist by Reese to make it 39-34, ending a 25-9 run that lasted just over 6 minutes. Micic and Erceg helped FMP regroup in time to pull within 39-37 at the half.
The game became more defensive in the third quarter as both teams worked to keep the score down and not give away easy baskets. Cevher Ozer's three-pointer opened the Besiktas lead a bit to start the half, but FMP never stopped fighting until Dragan Labovic's jumper tied the game again, 44-44. FMP was struggling against the zone defense of Besiktas but responding well with man-to-man pressure at the same time. Late in the quarter, a three-pointer by Thomas on the last second of the shot clock pushed Besiktas ahead 54-48, although Milos Teodosic answered immediately for the guests and Micic did so on the buzzer to fix a 56-53 scoreboard after 30 minutes. Both teams looked nervous while missing scoring chances to start the fourth quarter, but Besiktas soon extended the lead once again, to 63-57, on a triple by Veyseloglu. Then the game turned into a cat-and-mouse chase. Labovic's layup-plus-free throw reduced the difference to 65-62. Veyseloglu responded with another triple at 70-62, buut FMP never gave up the fight. With 90 seconds left, Erceg's made it 72-69, after which FMP took advantage of Besiktas misses at the foul line to ti 73-73 with 19 seconds left on a jumper by Rasic. Reese went to the line with 12 seconds left and missed the first of his pair, but downed the second free throw to take back the lead, 74-73. FMP called timeout and got the last possession into the hands of Rasic, who drove into the paint but couldn't get his shot to fall over the strong Besiktas defense. The visitors tasted their first loss while Besiktas got in the victory column at last.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006