FB Ulker upset Regal FC Barcelona 61-69
When the duel of undefeated teams in Group C came to an end, Fenerbahce Ulker emerged victorious by handing defending champ Regal FC Barcelona the first loss of the season of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague regular season by 61-69 in Barcelona, Spain on Thursday night. It was a tight game throughout with constant lead changes in the final quarter, but the great defense of Fenerbahce allowed the guests to control the tempo of the game and keeping their cool at the end, managed to escape with a valuable win. The victory leaves Fenerbahce atop of Group C with a 3-0 tied with Montepaschi Siena, while Barca drops to 2-1. Roko Ukic led the winners with his 13 points and Marko Tomas added 12. For Barcelona, Pete Mickeal had 17 points, Juan Carlos Navarro 12, Jaka Lakovic 11 and Erazem Lorbek 10.
Pete Mickeal moved in the lane for the first basket of the game but Marko Tomas' tip in for Fenerbahce Ulker tied the game soon, 2-2. Mickeal was on fire
with a three and neither team missed its first offensive attempts when the scoreboard showed a 7-6. Gasper Vidmar's basket plus foul put Fenerbahce ahead for
the first time, 7-8, but Juan Carlos Navarro fireworks turned the tides again. The fast pace of the game benefitted Ukic, who stepped up with four straight
points to put a 9-12 and force Barca's timeout. The hosts had not pulled a single defensive board at that point and it was because Fenerbahce hardly missed
any shots. In defense, the guests also forced turnovers of Barcelona and only Mickeal seemed to be active enough for the defending champs. Barca was clashing
again and again against the defensive wall of the guests but Fenerbahce didn't take advantage of that as the score remained 11-14 in minute 8 and when
Mickeal fed the alley-oop to Vazquez, it was a one-point game, 13-14, to end the first quarter.
Lynn Greer and Mirsad Turkcan sparked a 0-4 run for the guests that was only stopped by Navarro from the line. Fast points on each side fell now to make it
18-22. Fenerbahce didn't let go of the lead thanks to the contribution of Oguz Savas and thanks to a smothring defense, Greer blasted a three that made it
18-27 for the largest lead of the game. Victor Sada had to think twice before driving to the rim, to get the first basket for a Barca point guard, and soon
Sada himself scored again for the hosts for the 22-27. The run increased to 6-0 with Navarro to force the timeout of Fenerbahce now. Barcelona was still
struggling against Fenerbahce's defense but at least Erazem Lorbek hit the jumper over the buzzer but Marko Tomas was the one now to keep the guests at a
safe distance. The hosts had not managed to steal the ball once yet, and after a foul, Darjus Lavrinovic scored his first point from the line to leave it at
28-32 at the break.
Vidmar opened the second half with free throws but when Vazquez slammed and received the foul from Lavrinovic for Barcelona, the arena seemed to come alive.
Mickeal pulled the hosts within two points, as Barcelona's defense seemed to come together now and started working at full throttle. But again, when it
looked like Barca would control the score, Fenerbahce found someone, Ukic this time, to maintain a safe distance. The hosts insisted on feeding the ball in
the paint to the big men, but the defensive wall of the Turksih team was still there. Mickeal wasted another chance to tie the game by missing a free throw
with a 36-37 but Navarro and Jaka Lakovic connected fast layups to finally make it 40-39 for Barcelona. With a steal and three to add, Lakovic emerged as the
scorer that Barca needed in the final moments of the third quarter. Fenerbahce pressed hard in defense for the last plays and also got the last shot when
Preldzic blasted a three from the corner on the buzzer to leave it all open for the last period, 45-44 after 30 minutes.
Lakovic was still active for Barcelona with a layup while Tarence Kinsey replied fast for Fenerbahce. Mirsad Turkcan blasted a three to put the guests ahead
again and Preldzic did the same thing for the 49-52 in a game that offered no mercy for neither side. Good ball circulation earned Barca players good options
to shoot, but the ball didn't want to go in as expected (3 of 16 threes at that point for Barca), and it had to be through free throws that Mickeal kept the
hosts at one point. The decisive moments of the game were arriving and despite good defense, Barca's problem with the defensive rebounds persisted, allowing
Fenerbahce to create more offensive options. Vidmar missed to key frees and Lorbek had an answer with a long jumper and two more free throws for 55-54. The
carrousel of free throws continued with Ukic and Lorbek until Tomas hit an important three for 57-60 with three minutes to go. Ukic insisted on the Barca rim
and Mickeal could only hold the fort with two free throws. The game entered its last 80 second with 59-64 after Tomas' basket. Barca's timeout would have to
decide the outcome of the game. Mickeal missed a layup and when Fenerbahce grabbed an unbelievable offensive rebound time was running out. Lakovic missed the
three and when Turkcan hit one free throw for 61-65 it was clear that Fenerbahce would remain undefeated while handing the defending champ the first loss of
Thursday, November 4, 2010