Fenerbahce beats Baskonia, gets 12th straight win
In a great back-and-forth battle, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul recorded its 12th consecutive victory by downing KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 96-87 at Ulker Sports Arena on Friday. Fenerbahce leads the standings with a 15-1 record and Baskonia dropped to 7-9, still one win removed from playoffs territory. Nicolo Melli led the winners with 19 points. Jan Vesely added 15, Marko Guduric had 14 while Luigi Datome and Kostas Sloukas each got 13 for Fenerbahce. Shavon Shields led Baskonia with 22 points. Vincent Poirier added 15, Darrun Hilliard and Luca Vildoza each had 11 and Matt Janning got 10 for the guests. Fenerbahce led 48-41 at halftime and boosted its margin to 69-48 early in the second half. Baskonia managed to get within 82-81 midway through the fourth quarter but Guduric and Vesely made Fenerbahce prevail.
Datome got Fenerbahce going with a triple and a jumper and Ali Muhammed downed a five-meter shot. Shields buried a couple of jumpers and Janning struck twice from downtown to give Baskonia its first lead, 11-12. Shields scored down low but Muhammed did better with a three-pointer before a fall-away jumper by Vesely restored a 17-16 Fenerbahce lead. Johannes Voigtmann dunked before a jumper by Ilimane Diop tied it at 20-20. Erick Green and Sloukas stepped up for the hosts but Diop and Shields kept Baskonia within 27-25 after 10 minutes. Consecutive layups by Ahmet Duverioglu and Nikola Kalinic made it 31-25 early in the second quarter. Shields rescued Baskonia with a triple and a dunk, but Duverioglu, Joffrey Lauvergne and Kalinic kept the hosts in charge, 38-32. Vildoza and Poirier answered for Baskonia and a fastbreak layup by Marcelinho Huertas made the hosts call timeout at 43-39. Melli followed a triple with a wild buzzer-beating put-back slam for a 48-41 Fenerbahce lead at the break. A jumper by Datome and a layup by Melli made it a double-digit game, 52-41, soon after halftime. Janning hit a triple and Shields added an alley-oop dunk, but Guduric, who had been scoreless until then, hit 3 triples in 1 minute to break the game open, 61-46. Datome and Sloukas joined the three-point shootout and a big dunk by Vesely made it a 21-point game, 69-48. Three-pointers by Vildoza, Voigtmann and Darrun Hilliard allowed Baskonia to get plenty of hope, 75-65, after 30 minutes. Shields followed a put-back basket with a dunk early in the fourth quarter and soon split free throws for a 75-70 score. Sloukas downed a triple but Poirier dunked, Hilliard added a driving layup and a put-back basket by Vildoza got Baskonia even closer, 78-76. A tip-in by Poirier to make it a one-point game, 82-81. Datome struck from downtown, Vesely added free throws and Guduric followed foul shots with a critical triple that sealed the outcome, 92-84, in the next-to-last minute.
Guduric had all of his 14 points in the second half, burying 4 of 6 three-point shots. Three of them came in just 60 seconds to help Fenerbahce get a big difference, and the final one came in crunch time to make the hosts celebrate another win.
Baskonia managed to get within 85-83 with 4 minutes left but Guduric had 5 points in a 9-1 run that sealed the outcome down the stretch, 94-84. As always, Fenerbahce delivered in crunch time.
Three-point shots made the difference in this game. Baskonia shot well, hitting 8-of-20 attempts from downtown (40%) but Fenerbahce was outstanding. The hosts downed 15-of-26 shots from beyond the arc (57.7%). By hitting 12 three-pointers, Fenerbahce ties its season-high. It also hit 15 against Buducnost VOLI Podgorica.
Did you notice?
Fenerbahce needs one more win to match the longest winning streak in the EuroLeague under the new format. Real Madrid won 13 consecutive EuroLeague games since Game 2 of last season's playoffs until Round 8 of the regular season this season. However, Fenerbahce already has the longest in-season winning streak since the format change.
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action on Tuesday in Round 17. Fenerbahce visits Khimki Moscow Region and Baskonia travels to Greece to face Olympiacos Piraeus.
Friday, January 4, 2019