Kalinic's late heroics lift Fenerbahce
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul defeated Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 66-63 at Ulker Sports and Event Hall on Wednesday. Fenerbahce improved to 13-14 in the standings to climb to seventh in the standings, while Zvezda dropped to 10-17 and two wins outside of the playoff zone. Nikola Kalinic led the winners with 10 points. Kevin Punter and Lorenzo Brown paced Zvezda with 14 points apiece. The game was close throughout and tied at 51-51 through three quarters. A tip-in by Brown gave the visitors a 60-61 edge with over 4 minutes left. Nando De Colo and Jan Vesely rescued Fenerbahce and Kalinic struck from downtown for a 67-63 lead with 40.8 seconds left. Fenerbahce held Zvezda scoreless in its final two possessions, including a Stratos Perperoglou miss from downtown in the final seconds.
Malcolm Thomas got Fenerbahce going with a layup and Joffrey Lauvergne added a jump hook in a 7-0 opening run that Leo Westermann capped with a jumper. Branko Lazic hit a jumper that Mahmutoglou bettered with a three-pointer. Marko Jagodic-Kuridza and Vladimir Stimac rescued Zvezda, fueling a 0-6 run that Brown capped with a jumper. Derrick Williams took over with a put-back slam and Luigi Datome sank a step-back shot that restored a 14-8 Fenerbahce lead. Melih Mahmutoglou buried his second triple, but Jagodic-Kuridza brought Zvezda within 17-12. Dejan Davidovac struck from downtown and Brown scored in penetration to tie it at 17-17. Ali Muhammed nailed a three-pointer and Kalinic added a driving layup, but Punter kept the visitors close at 22-20 after 10 minutes. Williams and Muhammed downed triples early in the second quarter, but Punter scored again and James Gist added a wild put-back dunk and a jumper for a 28-26 score. Kalinic and Williams kept pushing the hosts and Vesely hit an off-balance shot, but Perperoglou had 7 quick points, singlehandedly keeping Zvezda as close as 36-34. De Colo sank a floater and got help from Datome to boost the hosts' margin to 41-37 at halftime.
Jagodic-Kuridza hit a jumper before leaving the game with a sprained ankle. Brown added a coast-to-coast layup in a 0-6 run that Gist capped with a fastbreak layup for a 41-43 Zvezda edge. Muhammed buried a jumper which Brown bettered with consecutive driving layups. De Colo struck from beyond the arc and Kalinic added a layup that regained the lead for Fenerbahce, 49-47, after a 6-0 run. Brown dunked and Punter nailed a contested jumper, but a one-handed flush by Thomas tied it again, 51-51, after three quarters. Punter buried a mid-range jumper before Kalinic scored around the basket. Gist shined with a layup-plus-foul for a 53-56 Zvezda lead with 7 minutes to go. Westermann buried a three-pointer that De Colo followed with a driving layup. Vesely capped a 7-0 run with a jump hook, but Punter answered with a wild corner triple and Brown added a tip-in that caused the hosts to stop the game at 60-61. De Colo and Vesely stepped up for Fenerbahce and Kalinic buried a critical jumper off his own offensive rebound for a 66-63 lead with 40.8 seconds left. Brown turned the ball over, but Zvezda got it back with 11.2 seconds remaining. Perperoglou missed from beyond the arc and the Fenerbahce fans celebrated a much-needed win.
Derrick Williams had a strong all-around performance that included a couple of impressive dunks. He did much more than that, however, finishing the game with 9 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 3 fouls drawn for a team-high PIR of 19.
Already in the final minute, a three-point shot by Leo Westermann went in and out, but Nikola Kalinic grabbed the offensive rebound and threw it out into the hands of Nando De Colo. Kalinic finished the game with a jumper from the left wing that ignited the crowd at 66-63. Fenerbahce's defense did the rest, as Lorenzo Brown committed a turnover and Stratos Perperoglou missed from downtown in the final seconds.
Despite being heavily outrebounded (28-40), Fenerbahce managed to take better care of the ball and that made the difference down the stretch. Fenerbahce committed a mere 8 turnovers and forced Zvezda into 14.
Did you notice?
Vladimir Stimac has played for Fenerbahce and Zvezda this season and has faced both teams, too. Stimac had 1 point in 8 minutes when Fenerbahce registered a 68-56 loss against Zvezda in the Serbian capital. He switched teams and played against Fenerbahce in this game, finishing the game with 2 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and a PIR of 2.
Both teams return to EuroLeague action on Friday, March 6. Fenerbahce visits Khimki Moscow Region. Zvezda hosts Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv.
Wednesday, March 4, 2020