Fenerbahce Ulker dominated previously unbeaten Montepaschi Siena 81-68
To the delight of 15,000 fans at sold-out Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul on Wednesday, the distinction of being the Turkish Airlines Euroleague's last undefeated team went to Fenerbahce Ulker with a commanding 81-68 home win against Montepaschi Siena, which suffered its first defeat. The victory left FB Ulker with a 4-0 record, its best start ever in the Euroleague, while Siena dropped to 3-1. The Euroleague's top rebounder ever, Mirsad Turkcan, led the winners with a double-double of 13 points and 10 boards, but he had help everywhere as eight different FB Ulker players scored 7 or more points. Marko Tomas and Roko-Leni Ukic followed with 11 each, Omer Onan, Oguz Savas and Lynn Greer added 9 each, while Gaspar Vidmar had 8 and Darjus Lavrinovic 7. For Siena, Bo McCalebb scored 18 and Ksistof Lavrinovic 12, giving him the edge over his twin brother on the other team, although he surely would have preferred the victory.
Ukic got his team and the fans into it with a game-opening layup, but Kaukenas downed Siena's first open shot from the corner to put the guests ahead 2-3. Siena surprised with a zone defense that nonetheless allowed Darjus Lavrinovic to get free for a layup. Ukic then put FB Ulker up 6-3 with a turnaround baseline jumper and when Darjus Lavrinovic fed Gidmar for a dunk, after which the soldout crowd could be heard all the way to Siena. After back-to-back offensive fouls resulting in turnovers, Siena took a timeout, but still struggled to get shots to fall until Shaun Stonerook powered in a layup and the accompanying free throw to make it 8-6. When Siena's own Lavrinovic, Ksistof, downed free throws, it was all tied up, 8-8. Vidmar broke the tie with an inside bucket, but Nikos Zisis got both points back at the foul line for Siena. Kaukenas fed Ksistof Lavrinovic for a pick-and-pop triple that Vidmar answered with another close-in basket. Turkcan then stepped in the game and buried a triple to which Ukic added a layup. Kaukenas hit free throws, but on the quarter's last play, so did Ukic to leave FB Ulker in charge 19-15 after 10 minutes.
Kaukenas scored a reverse for Siena to open the second quarter, but Savas answered with a pair of layups for the hosts. McCalebb said hello for Montepaschi with a triple from the wing. Savas added his next points at the foul line to make it 25-20, but Tomas Ress scored a fastbreak layup for the visitors to keep it close. Turkcan struck with another three-pointer that Pietro Aradori copied for Siena. Another Savas layup and free throws by Greer pushed the FB Ulker lead to 33-26 before McCalebb boosted the visitors with a layup. Tomas struck back with a three-pointer that rattled in and brought the crowd to its feet. Kaya Peker did the same on defense with his second block, but McCalebb spun into the lane to score then fed Marco Carraretto in the corner for a corner three-pointer that cut the difference to 40-34 after a scintillating first half.
Darjus Lavrinovic opened the second-half scoring inside for FB Ullker, but his brother Ksistof matched his 2 points from further out for Siena. Likewise, when McCalebb buried a triple for the guests, Onan did the same, keeping FB Ulker ahead 45-39. Ukic and Onan then worked a give-and-go for a high layup off the glass plus a free throw to match the game's biggest lead yet, 48-39. Stonerook lowered that on the next shot, from the arc, but Siena's zone couldn't stop Darjus Lavrinovic from matching. And when Vidmar put back FB Ulker's next miss, the hosts had a double-digit lead, 53-42. After a Siena timeout, a tense few minutes of tough defense ensued, with a sensational rebound and put-back of his own missed triple letting McCalebb cut the difference to single digits again, 55-46. Siena got closer on free throws by Milovan Rakovic, but Onan matched him with a jumper, keeping FB Ulker up 58-48 after 30 minutes.
Tarence Kinsey and Greer started the final quarter with baskets as FB Ulker approached its biggest lead, 62-48. The hosts defense was denying Siena shots or making them go to the foul line, where Zisis hit free throws. By the time Tomas lined up and buried a shot from the arc, however, the difference had ballooned to 67-50. McCalebb got 3 points back on one shot, but time was running out on the visitors. Rakovic added a couple layups as both teams started thinking about the point difference more than the outcome now, in case of future ties that might need breaking. FB Ulker rattled off the next 6 points, including a triple by Turkcan, to lead 76-57, high for the game, but Ksistof Lavrinovic matched him from the arc and Zisis scored 3 the hard way, prompting an FB Ulker timeout in the next-to-last minute. Ukic came out and drilled a triple for the hosts, then Turkcan added free throws, but McCalebb and Kaukenas got them all back in the final minute for an 81-68 final score. But the points hardly mattered for the FB Ulker fans in comparison with the victory, which left their team as the only unbeaten one in the Euroleague so far.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010