Fenerbahce survives James barrage to beat Milan
Fenerbahce Istanbul returned home and survived a fight against AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan to win 92-85 and extend two winning streaks. Marko Guduric paced Fenerbahce with 20 points and Jan Vesely added 17 points as the reigning champs won their eighth straight game for an 11-1 record atop the EuroLeague standings. It was Fenerbahce's first home game since Round 8. Joffrey Lauvergne chipped in 15 points as Fenerbahce won its ninth straight game against Milan dating back to the 2013-14 season. Milan lost its fourth straight game to fall to 6-6 though Mike James did all he could with a career-high 31 points, including 6 three-pointers and 6 assists. Arturas Gudaitis and Mindaugas Kuzminskas both added 13 points in the loss and Kaleb Tarczewski had 9 points and 10 rebounds.
Milan tallied just 2 points in the first four minutes, but the visitors also did a good job holding Fenerbahce at bay and Tarczewski had Milan's first 6 points to make it 6-6. A Vladimir Micov three-pointer gave the Milan its first lead, 8-11, before Curtis Jerrells and James followed with triples. It was 15-21 after 10 minutes. Milan took advantage of its prowess on the offensive glass with 8 offensive rebounds and Kuzminskas had the Italian champs up 24-28. Fenerbahce responded with an 8-0 spurt to go up 32-28 only to see James hit a three-pointer at the other end and Gudaitis add 5 points. The game was deadlocked 40-40 at the break. Ali Muhammed started the second half by stealing the inbounds pass and laying it in. The big man duo of Lauvergne and Vesely helped Fenerbahce pull away for the first time with 12 points combined to make it 58-49. A Muhammed three-pointer pushed the advantage into double digits at 65-55 and the hosts led 67-58 after 30 minutes. Lauvergne increased the gap to 12 points early in the final quarter and it was still 72-62 before Milan started hitting from long range. James and Kuzminskas both hit threes and then James nailed two more three-pointers to cut the margin to 79-76 with less than three minutes to play. The lead was down to 2 points on James's sixth three-pointer, 81-79. Guduric responded with back-to-back triples to give Fenerbahce an 87-79 cushion with 1:10 to play. James continued to gun and trimmed it to 89-83 before Nikola Kalinic added a final three to ice the game for good.
Mike James was hitting one three-pointer after the next and helped cut a 12-point fourth quarter deficit to 2 points. But Marko Guduric stepped up and hit back-to-back three-pointers to decide the game.
Guduric scored his 20 points in hitting 7 of 8 field goal attempts, including both of his three-pointers and all 4 of his free throws. He also had 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals without turning it over in 25 minutes of action.
Sloukas joins 1,500 EuroLeague point club
Kostas Sloukas tallied 9 points as he surpassed the 1,500-point mark in his EuroLeague career and now has 1,504 points. The 28-year-old Greek star, who also had 7 assists in the win, is the 63rd player to reach that total in the EuroLeague.
Fenerbahce turned the ball over just 7 times and that was key as the home side survived getting outrebounded 37-27, including Milan grabbing 19 offensive rebounds.
Fenerbahce will remain at home and next faces second-placed CSKA Moscow in what promises to be a battle. Milan will head back to Italy and welcome FC Bayern Munich looking to finally get back into the win column.
Thursday, December 13, 2018