Zalgiris stopped Fenerbahce Ulker 85-84
Zalgiris stayed alive in difficult Top 16 Group H by edging Fenerbahce Ulker 85-84 in Kaunas, Lithuania on Wednesday. Zalgiris improved to 1-3 and stays in the fight for a Quarterfinal Playoffs spot, while Fener dropped to 3-1. Tomas Delininkaitis and Marty Pocius paced the winners with 13 points apiece. Trent Plaisted added 12 in his Turkish Airlines Euroleague debut with Zalgiris. Omer Onan led Fener with 23 points on 4-of-6 three-pointers. Emir Preldzic added 19 while Oguz Savas had 10 for Fener, that was without injured stars Roko Ukic and Mirsad Turkcan. Preldzic and Onan allowed Fener to get a 58-64 margin with under 3 minutes to go in regulation. Delininkaitis and Paulius Jankunas allowed Zalgiris to rally and get a 67-66 edge. Sean May shined with a three-point play but Mantas Kalnietis banked in a floating layup to send the game to overtime, 69-69. A three-pointer by Tadas Klimavicius and free throws by Kalnietis, Pocius and Delininkaitis allowed Zalgiris to seal an unbelievable win down the stretch.
Zalgiris coach Ilias Zouros surprised everyone by placing Mindaugas Kuzminskas in the starting five to guard Marko Tomas. The hosts faced early foul trouble as Travis Watson picked up two in the opening 29 seconds. Kaya Peker split free throws to open the scoring before Plaisted bettered him with a five-meter jumper for his first Euroleague points. A driving layup by Pocius soon gave Zalgiris a 4-1 lead. Darjus Lavrinovic scored in transition and a jumper by Onan put Fener ahead. Plaisted hit free throws before Tomas and Klimavicius traded triples for a 9-8 score. Kalnietis shined with a fast break layup, but Onan answered in the same way to keep FB Ulker within 11-10. The guests improved their defense after a timeout, but lacked shot selection in the other end. Peker tied the game with a foul shot, however Boban Marjanovic downed 3 of 4 from the line for a 14-11 Zalgiris lead. A free throw by Jankunas fixed the score at 15-11 after 10 minutes.
Zalgiris tried a small lineup - with DeJuan Collins and Marcus Brown at the wings - early in the second quarter. Preldzic struck from downtown before Klimavicius answered in the same way. Tarence Kinsey sank a mid-range jumper and Preldzic scored in transition to knot the score at 18-18. Zalgiris could not find the way to the basket while an outstanding Kinsey collected 2 steals that led to back-to-back easy baskets. Plaisted shined with a big basket in the low post that Sarunas Jasikevicius matched with a mid-range jumper. Pocius split free throws and added a wild triple off the dribble to tie it at 24-24. Plaisted set the crowd on fire with a fast break dunk, forcing the guests to call timeout at 26-24. Delininkaitis banked in a close shot that Lavrinovic matched with a long jumper. A three-pointer by Onan soon allowed Fener to regain the lead, 27-28. Marjanovic scored down low, but a five-meter jumper by Savas gave FB Ulker a 30-31 lead at halftime.
Watson scored his first points immediately after the break, but Jasikevicius found Kinsey for an open jumper. Onan stayed on fire with a fast break layup that Brown bettered with an off-balance three-point play, good for a 35-35 tie. Savas picked up a loose ball and put it in, but Watson matched that with a put-back basket. Zalgiris played more aggressive with Watson and Klimavicius in the middle and they managed to stop Savas down low. Kuzminskas took over with a layup in transition, as the guests struggled to score for almost three minutes until Lavrinovic stepped up with a reverse layup. Collins and Delininkaitis made free throws for a 43-39 Zalgiris edge. Onan and Collins traded foul shots, but a dunk by Lavrinovic and a fast break layup by May tied the game at 44-44. Preldzic buried a three-pointer only for free throws by Collins and Delininkaitis, followed by big dunk by Plaisted, to give Zalgiris a 49-47 edge. A jump hook by Peker tied it again, 49-49, after 30 minutes.
Pocius nailed a five-meter jumper early in the fourth quarter, but May erased it with a power basket. Fener tried Preldzic at point forward now. Onan took over with his trademark driving layup. Fener managed to control the defensive boards right when it mattered most. Preldzic provided a highlight with an outstanding three-point play for a 51-56 score. Zalgiris could not match the guests' physicality, but a timeout allowed the hosts to get back on track. Brown shined with a layup-plus-foul that Onan matched with a big triple off the screen. Plaisted banked in a floater in transition and Jankunas added a baseline jumper to make it 58-59 with just over four minutes left. Preldzic stayed hot with an up-and-under layup and Onan punished Zalgiris's 2-3 zone defense with an off-balance triple that forced the hosts to call timeout at 58-64. Collins made free throws and Delininkaitis topped Savas's layup with a bomb from downtown. Foul shots by Kalnietis made it 65-66 with over a minute left. Onan missed from downtown and free throws by Jankunas completed the hosts' comeback, 67-66, with 57 seconds to go. May stepped up with a key three-point play, but a driving basket by Kalnietis tied it at 69-69. Zalgiris collected a steal, but Jankunas missed from downtown at the end of regulation.
Preldzic sank a jumper early in the extra period and Onan bettered Delininkaitis' free throws with another three-pointer that gave Fener a 71-74 edge. Pocius sent the crowd to their feet with an outstanding three-pointer - and the free throw that came with it but Savas restored a 75-76 Fenerbahce lead. Savas stayed on fire with a backdoor layup but Collins struck from downtown for a 78-78 tie. Klimavicius beat the shot clock with a seven-meter bomb that put Zalgiris back ahead, 81-78, with 1:09 to go. Onan hit a jumper and Pocius split free throws, but Preldzic missed a critical shot for the guests. Delininkaitis and Kalnietis combined for 3-of-4 free throws but Preldzic scored twice in transition for a 85-84 score. Fener fouled on Delininkaitis with 1.8 seconds left, who missed his second attempt on purpose to run the game clock down and make Zalgiris celebrate an incredible home win!
Wednesday, February 16, 2011