Anadolu Efes rallies past Laboral for road win
Anadolu Efes Istanbul opened Top 16 Group F in style by rallying to edge Laboral Kutxa Vitoria on the road on Friday. Stratos Perperoglou paced the winners with 15 points and Stephane Lasme added 13 for Efes. Mirza Begic had 16 points for Laboral, while Mike James scored 12. Fabien Causeur shined early to give Laboral a 10-2 lead. Begic took over right after that to make it a 13-point game, 22-9, enough for the hosts to keep a 24-16 margin after 10 minutes. Efes improved its defense and a jumper by Lasme soon gave the guests their first lead, 27-29. A couple of a long three-pointers by Davis Bertans gave Laboral the lead, 41-35, at halftime. A driving layup by James made it 58-49 late in the third quarter, but Nenad Krstic and Matt Janning brought Efes within 58-55 after 30 minutes. Perperoglou and Janning hit critical three-pointers and a jumper by Lasme gave Efes a 67-69 lead. Laboral was held scoreless in crunch time and free throws by Lasme and Janning sealed the outcome.
First quarter: Causeur, Begic put Laboral ahead
Fernando San Emeterio banked in a running shot to get Laboral going and a fast break layup by James gave the hosts a 4-0 lead. Dario Saric stepped up with a second-chance layup, but Fabien Causeur followed a backdoor basket with a three-pointer for a 9-2 Laboral margin. Perperoglou struck from downtown, but Causeur and San Emeterio kept the hosts way ahead, 12-5. Saric took over with a layup-plus-foul, as Efes had to change its defensive strategy once it entered the foul penalty. Begic shined with a jump hook and followed Toko Shengelia's close basket with another hook shot for a double-digit Laboral lead, 18-8. Perperoglou split foul shots, but a reverse layup by James and a dunk by Begic caused Efes to call timeout at 22-9. Dontaye Draper hit a triple and a dunk by Lasme brought the guests within 22-14. Free throws by Causeur and a six-meter jumper by Perperoglou fixed the score at 24-16 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Bertans keeps hosts in charge
Furkan Korkmaz nailed a three-pointer early in the quarter and fed Lasme for an alley-oop layup to bring Efes as close as 24-21. Begic split free throws and another triple by Draper made it a 1-point game. Cedi Osman split free throws, but Davis Bertans found Begic for a layup. A driving basket by Milko Bjelica tied the game again at 27-27. A five-meter jumper by Lasme gave Efes its first lead of the game, 27-29. Bertans answered from way, way downtown and a dunk by Begic ignited the crowd. Lasme and Darius Adams exchanged jumpers, as Efes struggled to find a way to the basket. Bertans split free throws before an off-balance basket by Saric kept his team within 35-33. James answered from downtown and Bertans hit his trademark long three-pointer off the dribble for a 41-33 lead. Saric hit free throws to keep Efes within 41-35 at halftime.
Third quarter: Efes keeps its chances alive
Begic nailed another jump hook immediately after the break, as Laboral held Efes scoreless for almost two minutes. Perperoglou hit one from beyond the arc and free throws by Causeur allowed Laboral to restore a 44-38 edge. Perperoglou and San Emeterio traded baskets and Dogus Balbay brought Efes a bit closer, 46-42. Shengelia scored around the basket and a driving layup by James got the crowd involved at 50-42. Lasme nailed a mid-range jumper, which Begic erased with foul shots. Osman fired in a corner three-pointer, James split free throws and a jump hook by Nenad Krstic - his first points - brought the guests within 53-49. Shengelia rescued Laboral with a catch-and-shoot triple, which James followed with a driving layup for a 58-49 margin. Krstic kept pacing Efes with a layup-plus-foul and a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Matt Janning brought the guests within 58-55.
Fourth quarter: Tension lasts till the final seconds
Both teams struggled to score early in the quarter until Osman stepped up with a driving layup. Bertans scored in the low post, but a three-pointer by Osman tied it at 60-60. Adams tried to change things with free throws to put Laboral back in charge, 62-60, with less than six minutes left. Perperoglou split foul shots, but Adams did better with an off-balance basket. Efes tried to use longer possessions without much success, as Laboral was all over the place on defense. Meanwhile, free throws by Adams gave the hosts plenty of fresh air, 66-61, with three minutes left. Perperoglou struck from downtown, Begic split free throws and a three-pointer by Janning tied it again, 67-67. Lasme swished a mid-range jumper for a 67-69 Efes lead in the next-to-last minute. James and San Emeterio missed respective shots from downtown and a free throw by Lasme made it 67-70, with 14.8 seconds left. Bertans missed from downtown and free throws by Janning sealed the outcome.
Friday, January 2, 2015