Fenerbahce snaps losing streak with St. Petersburg win
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul stemmed a four-game losing streak and killed Zenit St. Petersburg's three-game streak with a 65-73 victory at Sibur Arena on Thursday night. The exciting back-and-forth contest saw the visitors pull ahead by as many as 17 in the second quarter before Zenit used an 18-0 march in the third quarter to take control. Down 5 in the fourth, Fenerbahce reeled off 10 straight points and held on the rest of the way to improve to 5-7 on the season. Jan Vesely led the way with 17 points, Danilo Barthel added 15 and Ali Muhammed scored 11. Kevin Pangos scored 16 and Will Thomas added 10 for Zenit, which fell to 6-3.
Leo Westermann's three-pointer marked the only basket in the first 3 minutes, but free throws by Mateusz Ponitka and Arturas Gudaitis gave the hosts the lead. A put-back dunk by Ahmet Duverioglu evened things at 9-9 midway through the first quarter. Lorenzo Brown, Muhammed and Barthel came off the bench to trigger a 0-8 Fener run for an 11-19 advantage, which prompted a Zenit timeout. KC Rivers got Zenit going again with a jumper, but Vesely's slam made it 14-23 after 10 minutes. Brown set up Barthel for a layup and then scored himself as Fenerbahce continued to add to its lead. After Andrey Zubkov and Barthel traded threes, the latter drove to make it 17-32. Zubkov helped the hosts trim the margin to 23-34 midway through the second quarter. Jarell Eddie nailed a three-pointer and then was fouled shooting a triple and made resulting foul shots to stretch the lead to 17. Pangos scored 5 quick points for Zenit as the home team got within 32-45 at the break.
Pangos and Austin Hollins caught fire early in the second half, combining for the first 11 points in an 18-0 Zenit run that turned the game on its head. A three-pointer by Thomas gave Zenit a 50-47 lead. It took more than 8 minutes before Vesely scored Fenerbahce’s first basket of the half. Vesely next scored in an alley-oop slam courtesy of Brown's assist to tie it at 53-53 through three quarters. Billy Baron drained a three-pointer to put Zenit back on top and Hollins's steal and layup extended the margin to 5. Fenerbahce roared back with the next 10 points to regain the lead; Barthel scored twice before Muhammed made a pair of triples to go ahead 58-63. The Zenit attack tightened up at the worst time, while Fenerbahce got points from the line through Vesely, Muhammed and Dyshawn Pierre to extend its lead to 62-68 with 2:19 remaining. Vesely scored with 49 seconds left to all but seal the win as Fenerbahce claimed a tough road win.
Zenit roared back from a double-digit deficit with an 18-0 third-quarter run and led by 5 early in the fourth when Fenerbahce made its stand. Danilo Barthel scored twice and Ali Muhammed hit back-to-back threes – the second of which was assisted on by Barthel – to grab a 58-63 advantage that it would hang on to the rest of the way.
Fenerbahce followed most of the classic rules for a road win. It shot better than Zenit on both two-pointers (46.1% to 53.7%) and threes (25.8% to 38.5%) and committed a mere 8 turnovers. The biggest weakness for the visitors was on the glass; Zenit outrebounded Fenerbahce 38-25 – including 18 offensive boards for 21 second-chance points, however, the 19 points Fenerbahce scored from Zenit's 13 turnovers helped make up the difference.
Vesely meets milestones
Fenerbahce star and the 2019 EuroLeague MVP Jan Vesely added to his legacy with a strong night. He tied David Andersen for ninth place on the all-time rebounding charts with 1,144 boards and became the 20th player to make 500 career free throws. He needs 45 more rebounds to catch Kerem Gonlum for the eighth-most career rebounds.
Both teams return to action next Thursday, December 10, for Round 13. Fenerbahce will visit ALBA Berlin. Zenit heads to the Spanish capital to face Real Madrid.
Thursday, December 3, 2020