Montepaschi Siena held off Fenerbahce Ulker 87-79
Montepaschi Siena booked its first victory in Top 16 Group H by holding off a frantic comeback by Fenerbahce Ulker for an 87-79 home win. In a rematch of the 2008 Euroleague Quarterfinal Playoffs, Siena used first half runs of 11-0 and 17-4 to take control of the game. Fenerbahce, which was swept in the 2008 series, did not get closer than 11 points in the third quarter and trailed by as many as 24 points in the fourth quarter. But Gordan Giricek spearheaded a 7-24 surge to pull within 7 points in the final minute. It was not enough, however as Ksistof Lavrinovic came up with a big block on a Giricek layup to ice the game. With the win, Montepaschi improved its mark in Group H to 1-1 and extended its home winning streak to 12 games and 15 of the last 16 Euroleague games. Playmaker Terrell McIntyre knocked down 6 of Siena's 13 three-pointers while scoring 24 points and dishing out 6 assists in the victory. Benjamin Eze matched a career-high with 16 points and added 5 rebounds and 4 steals while Rimantas Kaukenas also had 16 points as well as 3 steals. Romain Sato added 12 points; Lavrinovic chipped in 8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks; and Shaun Stonerook had 5 points, a team-high 8 rebounds and 5 steals. Fenerbahce will face a huge task in reaching the Quarterfinal Playoffs after dropping to 0-2 in the group. Mirsad Turkcan led the way for the Turkish champs with 24 points and 7 rebounds against his former club. while Giricek scored 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter. No other player scored in double figures for Fenerbahce.
Devin Smith opened the game for the guests with a jumper in the lane. And Turkcan made it 0-5 with a three-point play. McIntyre got Siena on the board with a three-ball. A McIntyre turnover however resulted in a Turkcan breakaway layup for a 3-7 advantage. Sato knocked down another Siena three-pointer but Marques Green answered with a long ball of his own for a 6-10 advantage. Back-to-back baskets by Eze knotted the score before Turkcan's foul shot gave Fenerbahce back the lead 10-11. Sato converted a fine bank shot in the lane and then Eze threw down an alley-oop dunk from McIntyre. And the 14-11 Montepaschi lead led Fener coach Bogdan Tanjevic to call a time-out. Turkcan came out of the time-out with a layup to make it 14-13. But Siena picked up its defense while Fenerbahce also struggled to convert offensively. Eze hit another dunk before the Montepaschi bombers started to heat up. Sato made the first long ball from the right corner and Stonerook followed from the wing. And McIntyre showed he can knock them down as well with a very long three-pointer to make it 25-13 and finish an 11-0 run to finish the first quarter as Fenerbahce failed to convert on final six possessions of the period.
The second quarter started with an unsportsmanlike foul on Kaukenas. Emir Preldzic made both free throws and then hit a driving layup on the following possession to cut the deficit to 25-17. Sato's free throw was Siena's first point of the period. Gasper Vidmar converted an inside layup and Preldzic made two foul shots to bring the guests within 26-21. Lavrinovic however answered with a three-pointer from the right wing to re-establish an eight point lead. The big man dunked home a miss on a break-away layup to make it 31-23. Oguz Savas stepped out and had enough space to knock down a three-ball from the left wing to once again bring Fenerbahce within 31-26. But Siena passed the ball well and found Kaukenas and then Eze threw down another alley-oop from McIntyre to push the lead to 35-26. Savas came down the other end for a dunk in the lane only to see Siena pull away again. Kaukenas made two foul shots and another McIntyre triple pushed the gap to 40-28. Free throws by McIntyre and Kaukenas and an Eze jumper followed and the lead was 48-32 after a Kaukenas triple. Turkcan tried to keep Fenerbahce in the game with another inside basket but Stonerook was awarded two foul shots with no time left on the clock and Siena went into intermission ahead 51-34.
Omer Onan started the second half with a tough basket in the lane but missed the chance for a three-point play. And Smith's layup trimmed the margin to 51-38. Henry Domercant hit 2 free throws and then McIntyre's third three of the game pushed Montepaschi back ahead by 17 points. Fenerbahce remained committed on getting the ball into the paint and Vidmar scored a tough basket and then Smith got out for a quick transition basket. Vidmar further cut the deficit with a put-back dunk to make it 56-45. However, Eze answered with a basket in the lane and then Kaukenas hit a driving layup and the lead was back to 60-45. Green hit a tough running jumper for Fenerbahce, but McIntyre again hit from long, long range to increase the advantage to 63-47. Fenerbahce was unable to cut into the deficit and Arriel McDonald's jumper just before the third-quarter buzzer gave Montepaschi its biggest cushion to that point, 69-51.
Sato opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer and McDonald's pull-up jumper made it 74-51. Semih Erden hit in the paint, but Lavrinovic's three-ball from the right wing pushed the gap to 24 points, 77-53. But Siena would let up its intensity and Fenerbahce would fight back into the game. Damir Kaan Mrsic answered right back with a three from the right corner only to see Stonerook toss the inbounds pass to a streaking Kaukenas for a dunk and a 79-56 lead. Fenerbahce did score 5 straight points on an Erden dunk and Giricek triple, trimming the gap to 79-61 and bringing Montepaschi head coach Simone Pianigiani to call a timeout. Smith further cut the deficit to 79-63 with a lay-in but McIntyre had space for another triple and it was 82-63. Montepaschi struggled to execute on offense and Giricek hit a three-point play and Turkcan had two layups on the fast break to cut the gap to 82-70 with just over three minutes left. An Eze lay-in after a pick-and-roll with McIntyre finally gave the hosts another basket. But Turkcan and Giricek hit back-to-back three-pointers to cut the deficit into single digits. And Giricek's foul shot made it 84-77 with less than two minutes to play. McIntyre made it a 10-point game again with yet another three-pointer before Turkcan's foul shots trimmed it back to 87-79. But Lavrinovic blocked a driving layup attempt by Giricek in the final minute that took the steam out of the guests.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009