Turk Telekom took its first step to make it to the Final Eight next April by beating Zadar 89-82 in Last 16 Group J in Ankara, Turkey on Tuesday night. Telekom is now 1-0 in Group J and faces Unics in Kazan, Russia next Thursday. Meanwhile, Zadar now has a 0-1 record but hosts Benetton Basket Tamoil next week. Michael Wright led the winners with 23 points on 9-for-11 two-pointers. Erwin Dudley added 16 and 8 rebounds, Serkan Erdogan had 14 points, Rod Blakney got 11 while Bekir Yarangume contributed 10 for Telekom. Deyan Ivanov led Zadar with 23 points and 16 rebounds. Rok Stipcevic added 17 points, Todor Gecevski had 15 while Damir Rancic got 11. Dudley, Blakney and Wright fueled a 16-4 run that gave Telekom its first double-digit lead, 20-9. An unstoppable Wright and a three-pointer by Erdogan boosted the hosts' lead to 28-18 midway through the second quarter. Rancic and an outstanding Ivanov rescued Zadar to bring the guests within 48-42. A 2-11 run that Rancic capped with a triple got Zadar as close as 78-75 with less than 3 minutes to go. A three-point play by Wright and a long two-pointer by Erdogan allowed all Telekom fans to celebrate that their team opened the Last 16 with a big home win.
Wright got Telekom going with consecutive layups but a put-back basket by Gecevski and a bomb from downtown by Rancic gave Zadar its first lead, 4-5. Dudley sank a jumper, igniting a 6-0 Telekom run that he capped with a put-back layup to restore a 10-5 lead. Gecevski stepped up with a jumper that Dudley erased with free throws. Juby Johnson found his first points but Blakney and an unstoppable Dudley made Zadar call timeout at 16-9. Erdogan nailed a jumper while Blakney scored off a steal to make it a double-digit game, 20-9. Ivanov silenced the crowd with a put-back layup but Wright shined with 6 unanswered points to boost the hosts' lead to 28-13 after 10 minutes. Johnson tried to ignite Zadar's comeback with a quick basket while a triple by Ivanov brought the guests within 28-18 early in the second quarter. Blakney answered from downtown, Kennedy Winston followed a jumper with a dunk while another triple by Erdogan made it a 20-point game, 38-18, after a 10-0 run. Gecevski scored off a much-needed Zadar timeout while a three-pointer by Stipcevic and a dunk by Ivanov gave the guests some hope at 40-25. Telekom could not find the way to the basket, Gecevski followed a three-point play with a basket while Rancic scored again to get Zadar within 43-33 at halftime.
Yarangume and Gecevski traded baskets right after the break while a three-pointer by Stipcevic brought Zadar back in the game, 45-38. Yarangume kept pacing Telekom with a layup-plus-foul but Ivanov and Rancic combined for 4 quick points to get the guests even closer, 48-42. Erdogan buried a triple but Johnson and Ivanov kept Zadar within 52-46. Wright followed a jumper with a layup to give Telekom some fresh air at 56-46. Tomislav Ruzic stepped up for the guests while Ivanov made it a five-point game, 56-51. Yarangume sank a three-pointer and soon added free throws to restore a 61-53 Telekom lead. Asim Pars allowed the hosts to keep an eight-point lead, 65-57, after 30 minutes. Ivanov took over with consecutive put-back baskets to bring Zadar within 65-61 early in the fourth quarter. Winston rescued Telekom with a layup while Tutku Acik struck from downtown to give the hosts a 70-62 lead. Ivanov and Wright traded baskets while Winston and Wright allowed Telekom to break the game open, 76-64, midway through the final period. Stipcevic and Rancic struck from downtown in a 2-11 run that brought Zadar back to life, 78-75. Wright shined with a layup-plus-foul while a six-meter jumper by Erdogan sealed the outcome, 83-75, as despite Stipcevic's consecutive three-pointers, Zadar did not recover in the final 90 seconds.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009