Fenerbahce turns back Barcelona in home opener
Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul aced its home debut under legendary head coach Zeljko Obradovic by turning back mighty FC Barcelona for a 75-70 victory on Friday. Fenerbahce goes to 2-0 and will meet Group A's other undefeated team, CSKA Moscow, at home next week. Barcelona drops to 1-1. A 2-9 run after halftime that got Barcelona within 46-44 was met by a 14-0 Fenerbahce reaction for the game's highest lead until then, 60-44. The hosts maintained double-digit leads until a sudden 0-10 Barcelona run in game's last 2 minutes finished with Maciej Lampe's triple making it 72-70 with 20 seconds left. Bo McCalebb made a big defensive play and Linas Kleiza, who led all scorers with 22 points, sealed the victory at the free throw line. Luka Zoric added 12 points Bojan Bogdanovic 11 and Bo McCalebb 10 for Fenerbahce, which benefitted from making just 5 turnovers all game. McCalebb had 8 rebounds to lead the winners, too. Barcelona got 18 points from Juan Carlos Navarro, 16 from Ante Tomic and 13 from Lampe. Tomic had 9 rebounds and 4 assists, as well, as many as any player on either team.
First quarter: Hosts score fill scoring column quickly
Euroleague rookies Melhi Mahmatoglou and Kenan Sipahi fired in three-pointers to open the game before the latter fed Gaspar Vidmar for a layup and an 8-4 Fenerbahce lead. Navarro got on the scoreboard with a layup and then bettered himself with a three-pointer to cut the difference to 10-9. Lampe gave the visitors their first lead before Nemanja Bjelica drove to tie and Bogdanovic blasted his first triple to keep Fenerbahce ahead 15-12. Lampe and Zoric traded points before Emir Preldzic went backdoor for Fenerbahce's biggest lead yet, 19-14. Tomic got Barcelona closer, but Zoric answered with an elbow jumper and Kleiza drilled an inbounds-play triple as Fenerbahce boasted a 24-17 edge after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Kleiza boosts the difference
Mario Hezonja dunked to start the second quarter for Barcelona. Kleiza's free throws and layup were answered by Tomic's baseline jumper and Navarro striking from long distance at 28-24. Zoric got loose inside for layup and Kleiza went back to the free throw line for a new high lead, 32-24. Navarro again came to Barcelona's rescue with a triple, but that and 4 points in a row by Joey Dorsey only kept their team close as Bjelica blasted a triple and Kleiza a pair of layups. When McCalebb stopped and popped over Tomic, getting fouled and making it a three-point play, Fenerbahce suddenly had its first double-digit advantage, 42-31. Tomic got a basket back for the visitors, and after Preldzic delivered a great backdoor pass to Kleiza, hit another before the halftime buzzer that nonetheless left Fenerbahce in control, 44-35.
Second quarter: Barcelona run met with bigger one
Preldzic's free throws were matched by Lampe scoring alone inside to start the second half. Then Navarro found Lampe alone again and danced for a layup himself to get Barcelona within 46-41. Next, he found Alex Abrines in the corner for a transition three-pointer that forced a Fenerbahce timeout at 46-44. Two fastbreaks halted Barcelona's comeback, one that McCalebb finished, the other he gave to Bogdanovic. An unsportsmanlike foul on Lampe led to 4 more points - one on McCalebb's free throw, the rest on Kleiza's shot from the arc - for a just-as-sudden restoration of Fenerbahce's double-digit lead, 54-44. By the time Zoric hit a fastbreak layup and a turnaround jumper between free throws by Bogdanovic, Fenerbahce had run away 60-44 as Barcelona struggled to hit any shots. Jacob Pullen's layup and Bostjan Nachbar's jumper steadied Barcelona momentarily, but Sipahi and Kleiza got those points back. Tomic got to the foul line twice, but could only cut the difference to 66-52 after 3 quarters.
Second quarter: Barca gets close, but no cigar
A free throw by Tomic were the only points through 4 minutes of the final quarter until a bank shot by Zoric supplied a new high lead, 68-53. A layup by Lampe and a free throw by Navarro cut the difference before Tomic made it 68-58 with a jump hook, but time was running out on Barcelona with 3 minutes left. McCalebb was left alone for a put-back that Navarro matched with runner, just as Bogdanovic's jumper was equaled by a Huertas layup. It took a triple by Kostas Papanikolaou - his first points of the game after 7 rebounds - to finally lower the difference to single digits, 72-65. Navarro went to the line with 1 minute left to lower it further, with free throws. So when Lampe was left alone in the corner to ring up a triple, it was suddenly 72-70 with 20 seconds left. Barcelona put Preldzic on the free throw line, where he made the first and missed the second shot. Barcelona tried a quick lob to Tomic, but it was McCalebb who broke up what had looked like an easy basket. Preldzic then missed 2 free throws with 4 seconds left, but Kleiza took the offensive rebound, was fouled and sealed the victory at the line.
Friday, October 25, 2013