Fenerbahce Ulker rolled past visiting Zalgiris 84-75
Fenerbahce Ulker made super sure of its first Group C victory when it rolled past visiting Zalgiris 84-75 on Thursday in Istanbul after leading by double digits most of the night. The result left both teams tied for sixth place in the group with 1-3 records. Fenerbahce blitzed Zalgiris from the very start, racing to a 13-2 lead before winning the first quarter 27-10. The lead ballooned to a high of 24 points before Zalgiris started a slow climb back that only dipped into single digits with a late 0-9 rally on which time ran out at the finish. Mirsad Turkcan paced the winners with a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds. Damir Mrsic followed with 13 points, Ibrahim Kutluay with 12 and Kaspars Kambala with 10. For Zalgiris, Jonas Maciulis and Tanoka Beard put up 16 points each and Marko Popovic 11. Beard also pulled 13 rebounds.
Fenerbahce rolled in front early as Will Solomon, Mrsic and Kambala scored for a 6-0 lead. Turkcan joined them with his first baskets as the score reached 13-2. Zalgiris only had free throws to show until Penney made the team's first basket midway through the quarter, although Jonas Masiulis soon added a three-pointer to make it 16-8. A comeback seemed likely, but didn't happen as Fenerbahce kept finding points, whether at the line with Solomon or inside with Turkcan, whose basket-plus-free throw made it 23-10. Turkcan added yet another basket while Oguz Savas finished the quarter with his second jumper and Fenerbahce in command, 27-10.
Turkcan kept going into the second quarter with a three-pointer that boosted the lead to 20 points, 30-10. Fenerbahce soon completed its 14-0 run bridging the first two quarters with Savas downing a hook to make it 34-10. Hanno Mottola tried to revive Zalgiris with 5 quick points including a three-pointer at 36-15, but the visitors still had defensive troubles. Even so, Beard scored 6 straight points between 17th and 19th minutes to cut the difference to 15 points, 44-29, but Mrsic buried a last three-pointer to cap a spectacular half with Fenerbahce holding an 18-point margin, 47-29.
Maciulis, with a pair of three-pointers early in the second half, teamed with Beard to try to keep Zalgiris coming back. The visitors were able to cut the difference to half of what it had been - all the way to 12 points, 53-41 - before Kutluay detonated a triple to stop Fenerbahce's slide. His four-point play soon made it 62-45. Beard came back with free throws and Paulius Jankunas his own shot from downtown to pull Zalgiris within 71-57, but a fine assist from Solomon to Turkcan for an easy layup ended the third quarter with Fenerbahce still way up, 73-57.
Savas kept Fenerbahce's offense going to start the final quarter and the home team's defense did the rest, holding Zalgiris scoreless for nearly 3 minutes until Maciulis dropped a layup. Kutluay took charge then of carrying the hosts, firing in a triple that made it 78-60 and then a jumper before Maciulis hit his own three-pointer. Less than 4 mintues remained and Fenerbahce led 80-66, but Zalgiris was far from finished. Beard and Maciulis dunked back-to-back before Penney rifled in a triple and Popovic drove for a layup. That 0-9 burst made it a seven-point game, 82-75, with under 2 minutes left. But time ran out on the rally as Solomon finally answered with free throws for Fenerbahce, which gave its fans their first-ever Euroleague triumph, 84-75.
Thursday, November 16, 2006