Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul was made to work very hard before claiming its tenth consecutive victory on Friday night, with visiting ALBA Berlin putting up a tough fight before the Turkish team eventually prevailed 89-84 in a great game at the Ulker Sports and Events Hall.
For a while, it looked as though Fenerbahce’s victory would come slightly more easily, with Nando De Colo exploding for a personal 8-0 run which helped to give his team a 67-60 lead at the end of the third quarter. At that moment, all the momentum was heading Fenerbahce’s way and it would not have been surprising if the host had given itself a relatively comfortable final few minutes by pulling away into a big lead – especially after Kyle O’Quinn opened the fourth quarter scoring to make it 69-60.
But ALBA was playing with great fluency on offense and clawed itself back into contention by embarking upon a 0-7 run, reducing the deficit to 69-67 with still more than six minutes remaining. The game was, once again, right in the balance…but then Dyshawn Pierre took over.
First he turned provider, feeding a gorgeous no-look pass perfectly into the stride of the cutting De Colo, who easily converted a layup. Perhaps boosted in confidence by that assist, Pierre then went scoring crazy, netting 11 points in the space of 90 seconds including a trio of three-pointers, seemingly finishing the game by giving his team an 85-72 lead with less than three minutes on the clock.
ALBA, though, again came back as Marcus Eriksson and Simone Fontecchio both struck three-pointers in a quickfire 0-10 run, pulling it back 85-82 with 90 seconds left. With more work to do, Fenerbahce started to seal the game with a baseline strike from Lorenzo Brown, making it a two-possession game. Now ALBA had no more margin for error, but the German team’s last attempt to save the game was snuffed out when Maodo Lo’s shot was blocked by none other than Pierre, following up his flurry of offense with a key moment on defense to seal the win.
That all-action finale continued a strong run of form by the EuroLeague rookie, who joined Fenerbahce in the summer after three seasons with Dinamo Sassari in Italy. Although former EuroLeague MVPs De Colo and Jan Vesely have stolen the headlines with a series of brilliant performances during Fenerbahce’s ten-game winning run, Pierre hasn’t been far behind: he has scored at least 10 points and recorded a PIR of at least 14 in four of his team’s last five games, making 16-of-24 two-pointers and a remarkable 6-of-7 triples in the process.
Fenerbahce is firing on all cylinders, and on Friday night Dyshawn Pierre showed he can be the man for a big moment.