Its fans had to wait a little while, but its first Group C victory was well worth it as Ulker thrashed visiting Pau-Orthez 87-55 at home in Istanbul, Turkey on Wednesday. Both teams share a 1-2 record in the Group C standings along with CSKA Moscow and Unicaja. Jeff Trepganier led the winners with 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting and 5 steals. Vrbica Stefanov added 17 points, Marcus Haislip had 16 while Mirsad Turkcan had a monster double-double of 12 points and 19 rebounds. Turkcan's 19 rebounds tied for the seventh-most ever pulled in a Euroleague game. he also has the top three best rebounding performances ever. Brooks Sales was the only player in double digits for Pau with 11 points. Haislip had 11 points himself in the opening quarter as Ulker sprinted ahead, while Stefanov and Trepagnier fueled a 17-4 second quarter run that put the hosts in charge for good.
Thierry Rupert's free throws and C.C. Harrison's driving layup got Pau a quick 0-4 lead to start the game. Haislip put Ulker on the right track with a baseline jumper, however, and that ignited a 10-0 run. Turkcan scored inside and fed Omer Onan for a fastbreak layup while Haislip scored twice more, including a dunk that forced a Pau timeout at 10-4. Lonnie Cooper immediately nailed a long two-pointer, but Ulker continued to dominate with man-to-man defense while Trepagnier nailed a corner three-pointer to make it 14-6. Now, T.J. Lux rescued Pau by sparking a 0-6 run that Cooper capped with free throws to bring the guests within 14-12. But Turkcan appeared again with a tip-in, Haislip nailed a turnaround jumper and Onan scored from downtown to put Ulker fully in charge again, 21-14. Sourata Cisse scored a backdoor layup, but Haislip followed a close basket with a blocked shot as Ulker led 23-16 after 10 minutes.
Both teams struggled to score in the second quarter but Turkcan dominated the boards for Ulker until Stefanov slashed for a layup and added free throws. Thierry Gadou scored inside to bring Pau within 27-18, but the guests struggled to score otherwise. Stefanov drove again and Ibrahim Kutluay copied him put Ulker up 31-18 after 15 minutes. After Artur Drozdov and Stefanov traded shots, Pau switched to 2-3 zone defense that Trepagnier punished with 5 quick points. His triple and free throws came in a 7-0 run that made it a 20-point game, 40-20. Drozdov tried to change things with a fastbreak dunk and Harrison added a corner three, but free throws by Oguz Savas and a breakaway layup by Kutluay restored a 45-25 Ulker margin at halftime.
Turkcan, Haislip and Trepganier kept scoring until Ulker's lead reached a new high, 51-27, soon after halftime. Sales scored inside for Pau, but otherwise the guests lacked concentration. Meanwhile, Stefanov fired for three from the corner three to make it 54-29. While Pau stayed in its zone defense, Turkcan continued doing all the dirty work under the rims while Trepagnier drove for a layup and Stefanov drilled another triple for a mammoth 60-31 lead. It got worse for Pau as Onan struck from downtown and Trepagnier poured in 6 quick points for a 70-36 Ulker margin after 30 minutes.
The outcome was clear, so both teams fought for points differential, a critical issue when it comes to multi-way ties at the end of the regular season. Sales tried to reduce his team's deficit with consecutive baskets, but Ulker continued to excel on defense and didn't allow second chances to Pau. Turkcan had 5 points of a 6-0 run that kept Ulker way out in front, 83-44, with 4 minutes to go. There was little to be said and done in the end, as all Ulker fans celebrated a blowout first win that gets their team back into the Group C race.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005