Zalgiris grabs third straight win in blowout of Fenerbahce
Zalgiris Kaunas continued its positive trend in racing past Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 99-62 for its third straight victory. Augustine Rubit led the way with 18 points and 6 rebounds for Zalgiris, which gave up only 7 points in the first quarter and was never challenged in putting its six-game losing streak from earlier in the season behind it and improving to 8-7. Marius Grigonis picked up 12 points and 7 assists while Nigel Hayes, Arturas Milaknis and Martinas Geben all chipped in 11 points for the Lithuanian champion. Fenerbahce lost its three straight and seven of its last eight to fall to 5-10. Nando de Colo paced Fenerbahce with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists, Jarell Eddie scored 12 points and Dyshawn Pierre had 10 in the loss.
Milaknis got the scoreboard going with a three-pointer while Fenerbahce needed more than 4 minutes to finally score from Edgaras Ulanovas. However, the hosts led only 5-0 as they hit just 2 of 9 shots in the early going. Thomas Walkup added a three-pointer and Joffrey Lauvergne tallied 5 straight points as the lead grew to 17-2. Pierre snapped the 12-0 run for Fenerbahce and Zalgiris's advantage grew to 21-4. Pierre knocked down a three-pointer only to see Lukas Lekavicius respond from deep and Zalgiris led 24-7 after 10 minutes. Lorenzo Brown and Eddie scored the first 4 points of the second quarter to cut the deficit to 24-11 and force a Zalgiris timeout. The home side responded in a big way with the next 11 points and a 16-2 run that featured three-pointers from Grigonis, Rubit and Hayes as well as a Rubit three-point play for a 40-13 cushion. De Colo scored 7 points as Fenerbahce’s main man in a 0-9 spurt to pull within 40-22. Rokas Jokubaitis and Milaknis hit back-to-back triples at the other end and Rubit had another and-one for a 51-31 advantage at the break.
Maliknis and Hayes opened the second half with three-pointers before Pierre scored for Fenerbahce. Lauvergne followed with a three-point play and Walkup hit the next triple as the margin grew to 65-33. Eddie got a three-pointer to fall, but the Zalgiris barrage continued as Grigonis, Lekavicius and Jokubaitis connected from deep for a 77-40 margin. Leo Westermann answered with a triple, but the lead was 81-47 after 30 minutes. After Geben scored first in the final frame, Eddie and Westermann hit triples and Pierre converted a three-point play and the gap was 83-56. Karolis Lukosiunas came off the bench and hit from long range. The difference was 89-56 with 5 minutes left. Melih Mahmutoglu had 5 points for the guests while Hayes knocked down yet another triple down the stretch. Marek Blazevic hit just one of two free throws with 12 seconds remaining to keep Zalgiris from getting to triple digits.
Zalgiris set club record in assists legs
Zalgiris dished out 31 assists to set a club mark in the EuroLeague. The previous best was 29 which the team had accomplished three times, including twice last season. The 31 assists tied for seventh all-time in a single game in the competition; Real Madrid holds the record with 36 assists.
More great three-point shooting
Just days after Zalgiris drained 18 of 26 triples in a 92-73 victory over TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, Martin Schiller’s men knocked down 16 of 30 three-pointers against Fenerbahce.
Zalgiris's assists and three-pointers were major contributors to the win, but so was a 41-23 advantage in rebounds, including 13 offensive rebounds. Zalgiris also held Fenerbahce to just 7-of-25 three-point shooting (28.0%) and the visitors connected on just 5 of 12 free throws (41.7%).
Zalgiris's next game will be its third straight at home when it welcomes FC Bayern Munich on Wednesday, December 23 in Round 16. Fenerbahce will return home next week and host Olympiacos Piraeus the same night.
Thursday, December 17, 2020