The first game of the season in Ankara, Turkey was a first-class thriller that hosts Turk Telekom managed to take in the final steps of the game by 70-64 against Panellinios BC. The game was balanced throughout the 40 minutes with both teams leading the score in turns, and trends marked by quick scoring bursts that put either team in command. In the final plays, Ivan Radenovic stepped up for the guests but the hosts we ice cold from the free throw line hitting their last 10 shots to secure the win. The win lifts Turk Telekom to a 2-0 record to lead Group D, while Panellinios drops to 0-2 and, with such a short regular season, needs to start winning badly. Erwin Dudley led the winners with his 20 points, Michael Wright added 17, Rodney Blakney had 13 and Kennedy Winston posted 11, four of them key free throws in the last minutes. For Panellinios, Radenovic had 18 points and Stevan Nadjfeji added 12.
Asim Pars opened the game for Turk Telekom but soon, a 0-7 burst by Panellinios capped by Stevan Nadjfeji's basket allowed the guests to pull away by 2-7. Erwin Dudley woke up for the hosts with his six straight points to make it an 8-9 game. Tutku Acik's three and a new Dudley basket allowed the hosts to tie the game again, 13-13 as Nadjfeji was excelling also in offense for Panellinios. Thanks to good percentages in 2-point shooting and four straight points by Michael Wright though, the first quarter ended falling on the hosts' side again, 17-12. Ivan Radenovic's five points starting the second quarter gave some air to Panellinios, now trailing by 21-19, and Nadjfeji was soon up to his 10th point to turn the game around again for the guests, 23-31, completing a 2-12 run. Turk Telekom was struggling from the arc at 1 of 8 while Panellinios was also winning the battle under the boards. The lead for the guests went up to double digits when Manolis Papamakarios hit two free throws, 25-35, but the hosts reacted with a final 8-2 thanks to Wright's free throws to reach the break with a 33-37 Panellinios edge.
Five points by Rodney Blakney launched Turk Telekom again and the hosts re-gaines the lead starting the third period, 40-39, after Kennedy Winston's basket. Winston himself blasted a bomb from downtown to keep forging Turk Telekom a slim but solid lead. Panellinios kept looking inside to stay in the game as Djuro Ostojic hit the lay-up to stay within 3 points, 53-50 for Turk Telekom as Panellinios was still leading under the boards. However, the guests kept insisting from the three-point line and the shots didn't want to go in now, and their steals - turnovers ratio was standing at -11 at this point, but despite all the negative signs, Radenovic fed Papamakarios to score the last basket of the third quarter to leave a tight 53-52 score after 30 minutes. Dudley scored to keep Turk Telekom ahead but Radenovic's three first tied the game at 55-55, and later, Nadjfeji re-appeared for a new Panellinios lead. The game entered the last four minutes with a 56-57 and both teams committing mistakes in offense as pressure started to push hard. Wright and Blakney stepped up again for the hosts with four points in a row combined that forced Panellinios' timeout with two minutes to go and a 60-57 Turk Telekom edge. The stop was good enough for the guests in general and Radenovic in particular, as he racked up five straight points of his own, including a three-point play, to put his team ahead again, 60-62, but Wright was solid from the charity line to tie the deal again. Nadjfeji fouled out with less than two minutes to go and Blakney hit two free throws to tie the game again, 64-64. Soon, Georgios Kalaitzis fouled on Winston, who hit both free throws again, and Blakney did the same again for 68-64 as Panellinios' time was running out. A final timeout however, didn't change things as another trip by Winston to the line sealed the deal for the hosts, as the fans celebrated a thrilling win.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008