Savanovic leads Efes to second straight victory
Anadolu Efes Istanbul improved to 2-1 in Top 16 Group E by beating Alba Berlin 71-62 at home on Friday. Efes recorded its second consecutive win, while Alba dropped to 0-3. Jordan Farmar and Dusko Savanovic led the winners with 15 points apiece. Kerem Tunceri added 11 while Sasha Vujacic had 10 for Efes. Deon Thompson led Alba with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Je'Kel Foster added 11 points and Yassin Idbihi and DaShaun Wood each had 10 for the guests. Thompson shined early in the game and got help from Foster to give Alba a 16-19 edge after 10 minutes. Tunceri struck three times from downtown in the second quarter to help Efes take a 35-30 lead at the break. Efes found a new go-to guy in Farmar, who took over after the break to boost the hosts' lead to 52-44 through three quarters. A three-pointer by Vujacic gave Efes a 58-47 margin, but Alba improved its defense and got within 58-54 with three minutes to go. Savanovic answered with 7 quick points and Lucas followed a key basket with free throws that sealed the outcome down the stretch.
First quarter: Thompson leads Alba to slim lead
Savanovic got Efes going with a fast break layup, as Alba picked up 2 turnovers in the opening minute. Thompson stepped up with a jump hook and a baseline jumper by Yassin Idbihi gave the guests a 2-4 edge. Zach Morley capped a 0-6 Alba run with a reverse layup. Efes had been scoreless for two minutes when Savanovic stepped up with a backdoor layup. Free throws by Jamon Lucas tied it at 6-6. Lucas and Thompson traded layups and a driving basket by DaShaun Wood put Alba back ahead, 8-10. Semih Erden stepped up with a tip-in, Thompson scored down low and Josh Shipp tied the game again, 12-12. Thompson beat the shot-clock buzzer with a turnaround jumper and a three-pointer by Je'Kel Foster boosted Alba's lead to 12-17. Kerem Gonlum split foul shots and Shipp struck from downtown, but Albert Miralles gave Alba a 16-19 edge after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Tunceri turns back the clock
Both teams struggled to score early in the second quarter until Kerem Tunceri stepped up with a triple from the corner. Alba went scoreless for more than two minutes until Thompson sank a shot. Sasha Vujacic took over with a layup in transition, which Foster bettered with his second triple, good for a 21-24 Alba edge. Tunceri answered from downtown. Foster shined with a layup off a steal before free throws by Savanovic tied it at 26-26. Idbihi scored off an inbounds pass, but Vujacic matched him with a stop-and-pop jumper and a wild turnaround jumper by Savanovic gave Efes the lead, 30-28. Jordan Farmar made free throws only to see Heiko Schaffartzik match with a jumper. Tunceri finished a long, two-chance Efes offense with a bomb from downtown to give his team a 35-30 margin before the teams headed back to the locker rooms.
Third quarter: Farmar takes over to keep Efes ahead
Efes tried twin point guards with Tunceri and Farmar together on court after the break. Wood downed a five-meter jumper and Byars copied him right after that to keep Alba within 35-34. Farmar took over with a big basket in the low post, but Miralles erased with it a fast break layup and Byars soon gave Alba a 37-38 edge. Farmar rescued Efes with a three-pointer from the corner and Gonlum dunked to give Efes some fresh air at 42-38. Farmar kept pushing the hosts with a reverse layup that caused Alba Coach Obradovic to call timeout at 44-38. Idbihi tried to change things with a baseline jumper, but Farmar bettered him with a triple. Idbihi scored again and a floating layup by Schaffartzik caused to Efes stop the game at 47-44. Farmar buried another from beyond the arc and Gonlum dunked again to boost the hosts' lead to 52-44 after three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Savanovic, Lucas seal the outcome in crunch time
Vujacic made free throws early in the fourth quarter, but Foster beat the shot-clock buzzer with a seven-meter bomb that gave Alba some hope at 55-47. Vujacic answered from downtown only to see Idbihi rescue Alba with a put-back basket. Free throws by Thompson made it a 7-point game with seven minutes left. Both teams struggled to find the way to the basket for more than two minutes until Miralles's tip-in kept Alba within 58-53. Thompson split free throws and Efes finally found a go-to guy in Savanovic, who shined with a three-pointer and added free throws to keep the hosts out of trouble at 63-54. Wood buried a three-pointer, however Savanovic scored in the low post. Wood insisted from downtown and Thompson scored around the basket for a 65-62 Alba deficit with 58 seconds left. Lucas scored in penetration and soon added free throws to allow the Efes fans to celebrate another home win.
Friday, January 11, 2013