Efes Pilsen’s 84-78 victory over Union Olimpija
Efes Pilsen improved to 4-2 in Turkish Airlines Euroleague Group D by beating Union Olimpija 84-78 in Istanbul, Turkey in front of 9,200 fans at Sinan Erdem Arena on Thursday. Both teams join Panathinaikos in a three-way tie for first place in Group D, each with a 4-2 record. Lawrence Roberts paced the winners with 14 points. Andrew Wisniweski added 13, Sinan Guler had 11 while Igor Rakocevic, Kerem Gonlum and Bostjan Nachbar each had 10 for Efes. Kenny Gregory led Olimpija with 16 points. Vlado Ilievski and Saso Ozbolt each added 12, Damir Markota had 11 while Giorgi Shermadini got 10 for the guests. The game saw as many as 8 lead changes in the first quarter but Vujcic and Rakocevic allowed Efes to get a 22-16 lead after 10 minutes. A put-back basket by Roberts soon made it a nine-point lead, 29-20, but Markota, Ilievski and Ozbolt got Olimpija within 36-35 at halftime. The guests rolled after the break and an outstanding Shermadini allowed Olimpija to get a 43-51 edge late in the third quarter. Efes used outstanding defense to return to the game and three-pointers by Nachbar, Roberts and Guler sealed the outcome in crunch time.
Rakocevic got Efes going with a three-pointer but Markota answered with a five-meter jumper and Gregory added a layup in transition for a 3-4 Olimpija lead. Rakocevic beat the shot clock buzzer with a driving basket and Wisniewski added a backdoor layup to put Efes back ahead, 7-4. Pinkney hit free throws and Gregory added a tip-into provide anothr lead change, 7-8. Bootsy Thornton and Markota traded layups in transition but a layup by Nikola Vujcic helped Efes to regain the lead, 11-10. Markota nailed another mid-range shot that Wisniewski bettered with a bomb from downtown. Roberts hit a jump hook but an unstoppable Markota matched it with a driving layup for a 16-14 Olimpija deficit. Vujcic sank free throws and a jumper by Rakocevic made the guests call timeout at 20-14. Gregory buried a jumper off the dribble but a dunk by Roberts fixed the score at 22-16 after 10 minutes.
Olimpija tried a small lineup with Goran Jagodnik at power forward early in the second quarter. Rakocevic kept pacing Efes with a layup-plus-foul but a rainbow jumper by Gregory got Olimpija with a long jumper. Guler got the crowd involed with a hard-fought put-back basket that Pinkney matched with free throws. Efes dominated the game with its physical game at both ends and a put-back layup by Roberts boosted his team's lead to 29-20. Pinkney banked in a jump hook and Ilievski struck from downtown to give Olimpija some hope at 30-25. Markota joined the three-point shootout off a timeout but free throws by Wisniewski and Nachbar gave Efes a 34-28 edge. Jagodnik scored in transition and Ilievski provided a highlight with an off-balance layup to keep the guests within 34-32. Gonlum hit free throws but Ozbolt bettered that with a corner triple for a 36-35 Olimpija deficit at halftime.
Gregory shined with a fast break dunk immediately after the break and Shermadini added his own slam for a 36-39 Olimpija lead. Efes struggled to score more than 3 minutes and free throws by Shermadini made it a five-point game, 36-41. Gonlum rescued Efes with a driving basket and Roberts bettered Shermadini's foul shots with a triple for a 41-43 Efes deficit. Efes kept missing easy shots, however, while Ilievski hit free throws and took over with an outstanding driving layup that boosted his team's lead to 41-47. Nachbar, now at power forward, scored in penetration but Shermadini stayed on fire with an alleyoop layup and free throws for an eight-point Olimpija lead, 43-51. Kerem Tunceri downed a triple and Gonlum scored down low but Jagodnik struck from downtown for a 46-54 score. Gonlum stepped up with a spin move in the low post and Wisniewski brought Efes within 52-54 after 30 minutes.
Gregory hit free throws early in the fourth quarter that Gonlum erased with a reverse layup. Olimpija found it hard to find open shots and a layup by Guler tied it at 56-56. Pinkney stepped up with a put-back layup but Tunceri found an easy basket to tie the game again, 58-58, with 7 minutes left. Wisniweski shined with a driving basket that completed the hosts' comeback, 60-58. Ozbolt also scored in penetration but Roberts sank free throws and dived for a loose ball to collect a steal that allowed Guler to score for a 64-60 score. Guler took over with another driving layup that made Olimpija stop the game at 66-60. Ilievski and Nachbar traded three-pointers but free throws by Markota gave Olimpija some hope at 69-65. Nachbar buried another triple but Ozbolt silenced the crowd with his own hot from downtown. Roberts and Guler joined the three-point shootout to seal the outcome, 78-68. Olimpija kept trying but Efes had cruised to a well-deserved, important home win.
Thursday, November 25, 2010