Galatasaray Medical Park downed Union Olimpija 70-79
Galatasaray Medical Park took a critical step forwards towards reaching the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16 in Group D by beating Union Olimpija 70-79 in Ljubljana, Slovenia on Wednesday night. Galatasaray moved up to 2-2 and will at least tie for third place at the end of this round. Olimpija dropped to 1-3 and plays 4 of its next 5 games on the road. In his first-ever Euroleague start at age 20, Furkan Aldemir paced the winners with 18 points on 7-of-9 two-pointers and 11 rebounds. Josh Shipp added 17 points, Preston Shumpert got 11 while Darius Songaila had 10 for Galatasaray. Aleksandar Capin led Olimpija with 15 points. Ratko Varda added 14 while Deon Thompson had 11 for the hosts. Aldemir had 8 early points to make Galatasaray get an 11-20 lead. Damir Markota and Sasu Salin struck from downtown to get Olimpija within 23-27. Outstanding defense and a red hot Shumpert made the guests boost their margin to 28-41. Back-to-back triples by Capin and a buzzer-beating jumper by Markota brought Olimpija back to life, 37-44, at halftime. Varda and Thompson took over after the break to make it a one-point game, 56-57, after 30 minutes. Olimpija trailed 63-64 midway through the fourth quarter but Aldemir and Shipp took over in crunch time to lead Galatasaray to a crucial win.
Songaila got Galatasaray going with a layup in a three-option possession. Ender Arslan soon added an easy basket and Aldemir dunked it for a 0-6 Galatasaray lead. Olimpija went scoreless for almost three minutes and a three-pointer by Arslan capped a 0-9 opening run for the guests. Danny Green answered from downtown but Galatasaray kept rolling. Josh Shipp followed a layup with a triple to make it a double-digit game, 4-14, forcing Olimpija to call timeout. Varda rolled off a high post pick for a layup and soon scored again to get his team closer, 8-14. Capin nailed a three-pointer but an outstanding Aldemir split free throws, added a layup-plus-foul and dunked it off a midcourt steal for an 11-20 Galatasaray lead. Varda kept pacing Olimpija with a put-back layup and a tip-in by Robert Rothbart brought the hosts within 15-20. Markota and Shipp traded triples and a jump hook by Rothbart got Olimpija even closer, 20-23. Aldemir dunked it again and Gordon added an acrobatic basket but a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Salin fixed the score at 23-27 after 10 minutes.
Galatasaray coach Oktay Mahmuti tried a more dynamic lineup with Tutku Acik and Gordon at both guards and Shumpert at power forward. Both teams, however, went scoreless for more than 3 minutes, trading missed shots and turnovers until Acik stepped up with a driving layup. Shumpert soon added his trademark baseline jumper and followed that with a corner three-pointer to make Olimpija call a much-needed timeout at 23-34. Luksa Andric capped a 0-8 Galatasaray run with a free throw, as Thompson took over with a power layup and a turnaround jumper. Jaka Blazic took over with a wild driving layup that made Galatasaray stop the game at 29-36. Andric made free throws and another three-pointer by Shumpert kept the guests way ahead, 28-41. Capin quickly answered from downtown but Galatasaray did not panic and played more aggressive once the hosts got into the foul bonus. Shipp split free throws but Capin nailed his third three-pointer for a 35-42 score. Lakovic shined with a driving layup that Markota erased with a buzzer-beating jumper for a 37-44 Olimpija deficit at halftime.
Varda hit a jump hook soon after the break, as Olimpija played with much more intensity in defense. Varda finished a great team play with a layup and soon added a power basket to make it a one-point game, 43-44. Songaila scored in the paint and soon added a baseline jumper to give Galatasaray some fresh air, 43-48. Olimpija stopped finding open shots once Galatasaray adjusted its frontcourt defense. Meanwhile, Songaila scored in the paint and a fast break dunk by Shipp restored a 43-52 Galatasaray margin. Varda sank a fallaway shot off an Olimpija timeout and Green split free throws to give Olimpija some hope, 46-52. Thompson nailed a jumper but Arslan answered from downtown to silence the crowd at 48-55. Thompson took over with a put-back dunk, as Galatasaray kept trying to get its big men involved. Songaila scored around the basket before picking up his fourth foul. Markota split free throws and a three-point play by Ben Woodside brought the hosts as close as 54-57. Thompson scored down low for a 56-57 Olimpija deficit after 30 minutes.
Aldemir stepped up with a put-back dunk early in the fourth quarter and Cehver Ozer scored around the basket for a 56-61 Galatasaray lead. Olimpija struggled to score without Green and Varda on the floor and a wild driving layup by Gordon made it a seven-point game, 56-63. Capin rescued the hosts with his fourth three-pointer and a put-back dunk by Markota brought Olimpija within 61-63 with 7 minutes left. Aldemir split foul shots but Green did not miss from the line for a 63-64 score. Olimpija called timeout to improve its offense but the hosts kept missing shots right when it mattered most. Gordon banked in a close shot, as Markota and Green missed from downtown. Aldemir made 1-of-2 free throws and added a wild put-back dunk to boost the guests' edge to 63-69. Shipp followed a jumper with free throws to seal the outcome, 63-73, with less than 2 minutes left. Aldemir sealed his outstanding gamne with an uncontested dunk, as a small group of Galatasaray fans were already celebrating that their team had cruised to a very important road win.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011