Panathinaikos cruised past Fenerbahce Ulker 72-62
Panathinaikos took a big step towards the playoffs by dominating Fenerbahce Ulker 72-62 at OAKA Arena in Athens. The Greens are now tied for first place in Group G with a 3-1 record. Panathinaikos led from start to finish, using tough defense to hold the visitors to 27 points in the first half and force many of Fenerbahce’s 21 turnovers. Despite spotty play, the visitors never gave up and managed to cut the lead to 9 points in the fourth quarter. Veteran Kostas Tsartsaris, starting for the injured Steve Smith, paced the winners with 21 points, while Mike Batiste knocked down 11 and grabbed 6 rebounds, and Ian Vougioukas and Romain Sato each contributed 9. Bojan Bogdanovic led FB Ulker with 15 points, Roko Ukic tallied 13 and Curtis Jerrells added 11. Mirsad Turkcan notched a game-high 13 rebounds in defeat.
Panathinaikos got off to a 8-2 lead on layups by Kostas Kaimakoglou and Romain Sato, who added a three-pointer. After a jumper by Jerrells and foul shots by Batiste, Ukic hit a running one-hander in the lane to keep the visitors in the hunt 10-6. Bogdanovic drilled a triple from deep, but free throws by Dimitris Diamantidis and a layup and more foul shots by Tsartsaris kept the hosts out front 17-9. Batiste knocked down a baseline two-pointer and Tsartsaris hit a pair of short-range shots, while Bogdanovic downed foul shots and Kaya Peker banked in a layup, the last points of the quarter, as Panathinaikos took a 24-13 lead.
Tsartsaris kept scoring to open the second quarter, this time from downtown, then David Logan got 2 points on a fast break, extending the hosts’ margin to 29-13. A Peker layup ended the Panathinaikos surge, then Emir Preldzic split free throws and Engin Atsur put in a back-door layup to trim the lead to 29-18. After Diamantidis and Batiste each added a two-pointer, Jerrells sliced his way to the basket and added a foul shot for a 34-21 difference. Batiste and Bogdanovic exchanged baskets, then Sato drilled a triple from the corner, giving the hosts a 38-23 margin. Fenerbahce tried to make a game of it as Ukic layed it in and Bogdanovic hit a mid-range jumper, pulling to 38-27. But the hosts had the last word as Sarunas Jasikevicius banked in a short jumper to take 40-27 halftime lead.
Tsartsaris opened scoring with a left-handed layup, then Diamantidis buried a three to widen the hosts’ lead to 45-27. Ukic answered for the visitors with 2 points in transition, then Jerrells added a pair of layups to cut the difference to 47-33. Free throws moved the scoreboard, then the hosts’ Ian Vougioukas hit a baseline hook shot and Ukic banged home a triple to set the difference at 53-37. Nick Calathes got his first points with a steal and layup, then Fenerbahce scored 6 straight on baskets by Turkcan, Bogdanovic and Ukic, slicing the lead to 55-43. A driving Kaimakoglou dished the ball to Vougioukas in the paint, who banked in a layup and added a foul, giving the hosts a 58-43 lead at the end of 30 minutes.
The first 6 points of the quarter belonged to Fenerbahce on free throws by Oguz Savas, another drive by Jerrels and a dunk by Bogdanovic, cutting the deficit to single digits 58-49. But then Panathinaikos erupted with an 11-2 surge, as Vougioukas hit free throws and added a basket in the paint, Jasikevicius drained a triple and Tsartsaris finished a drive with a dunk, then added another layup to set the score at 69-51. Fenerbahce refused to fold, responding with a 9-point run, including a triple by Turkcan to reduce the deficit to 69-60 with 2:18 on the clock. But after Atsur missed a three-pointer to get closer, Batiste erased any chance of a comeback by nailing a rare bomb from downtown with 50 seconds on the clock as Panathinaikos earned a convincing 72-62 victory.
Thursday, February 9, 2012