Needham, Freeman combine for 40 as Bursaspor snaps losing skid
Frutti Extra Bursaspor snapped a three-game losing streak by winning a thrilling back-and-forth battle 68-66 at home over ratiopharm Ulm. Bursaspor led by 13 points late in the second quarter before Ulm went on a 0-20 run spanning halftime. The hosts answered with the next 13 points and never let Ulm get back ahead to improve to 3-4 in Group B. Derek Needham and Allerik Freeman led the way with 20 points each and Egemen Guven chipped in 8 points and 6 rebounds. Ulm, which had won four of its last five games, dropped to 4-4 despite Jaron Blossomgame scoring 16 points and Cristiano Felicio adding 12 points and 8 rebounds.
Needham started the scoring with a three-pointer and Freeman’s layup made it 5-0. Felicio gave Ulm its first points before Blossomgame knotted the game 7-7. The visitors’ offense dried up and Needham and Freeman hit triples in a 12-2 surge to open a 17-9 lead. Fedor Zugic knocked down a three-pointer for the Ulm, but Bursaspor nevertheless led 19-12 after 10 minutes.
Blossomgame started the second quarter with a dunk and added a three-pointer for Ulm. Nicolas Bretzel’s throwdown had the visitors within 21-19. The hosts responded with a 10-0 run, which included 4 points from Freeman. Ayberk Olmaz followed with a three-pointer as Bursaspor’s cushion grew to 34-21. Ulm followed with a run of its own, keeping Bursaspor scoreless for the final 3:40 minutes and Thomas Klepeisz’s three-pointer finished a 0-9 surge to make it 36-32 at the break.
Ulm grabbed its first lead of the game with Felicio scoring the first 8 points of the second half - with a three-point play and a three-pointer - and Blossomgame added a triple to put Ulm up 36-43. Bursaspor finally got on the board in the second half after more than 4 minutes with Needham hitting a jumper as he and Freeman combined for 10 points in a 13-0 run to move ahead 49-43. David Dudzinski’s triple made it 54-47 before Ulm fought back to within 54-50 after 30 minutes.
Philipp Herkenhoff and Zugic knocked down three-pointers and Karim Jallow came up with a block and putback as Ulm evened the game again 58-58. Needham remained hot with a three-pointer that helped Bursaspor go up 63-58. Klepeisz nailed a long ball to snap a nearly 4-minute drought only to see Freeman’s next basket extend the gap to 67-61. Per Guenther punched back with a three-pointer for Ulm and Blossomgame’s dunk trimmed the deficit to 68-66 with 28 seconds to play. But Ulm could not get off a potential game-winner at the buzzer.
Dynamic duo with Needham and Freeman
Frutti Extra Bursaspor won the game thanks to its dynamic duo of Derek Needham and Allerik Freeman. Both players scored 20 points as they came up with big shots whenever the team needed something. Needham drained 5 of 10 three-pointers and Freeman was a 7 of 9 from the foul line. The two also combined for 3 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals in the win. Needham ended with a performance index rating of 18 and Freeman’s PIR was 16.
Blossomgame’s big game not enough for Ulm
ratiopharm Ulm came into the game without its leading scorer Semaj Christon and Sindarius Thornwell was limited to 4 points and 7 rebounds as he dealt with foul trouble early. Jaron Blossomgame was Ulm’s main man as he totaled 16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists as well as 6 fouls drawn. All that game him an index rating of 24. But unfortunately for Ulm, it was not enough as Cristiano Felicio was the only other player in double figures with 12 points.
By the numbers: Bursaspor forces turnovers in second half
Frutti Extra Bursaspor’s defense did a much better job in the second half forcing Ulm turnovers. The guests committed just 4 turnovers in the first half but lost 9 balls in the final 20 minutes compared to just 7 in the game for Bursaspor. The Turkish side also did a good job slowing down Ulm’s offense, which came into the game averaging 86.1 points a game - fourth-best in the competition. Bursaspor had been giving up 85.0 points a game - the fifth-most in the EuroCup. But Derek Needham and co. stepped up their energy and held Ulm to just 66 points - the second-fewest it’s scored this season and 30 points fewer than last week in the win over Mincidelice JL Bourg en Bresse.
Tuesday, December 21, 2021