Besiktas Cola Turka of Turkey kept its hold on first place in Group B with a dramatic 78-79 road win against one of the ULEB Cup's signature clubs, FMP of Belgrade, Serbia. Erkan Veyseloglu's only 2 free throws of the night, which he downed with 13 seconds left, proved the game-winners as missed its last attempt. Besiktas improved to 3-0 and has at least two victories more than half the group, including the dangerous FMP, whose record dropped to 1-2. Rick Apodaca paced the winners with 15 points, 4 assists and 4 steals, playing the entire game alongside Sandro Nicevic, who put up 14 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Preston Shumpert followed with 13 points and Kaya Peker added 11. Nemanja Protic paced FMP with 21 points and Zoran Erceg had 16, between them hitting 7 of the hosts' 11 three-pointers. Predrag Samardziski added 12 points, Djordje Micic 11 and Dragan Labovic 10. Besiktas challenged the hosts from the opening tip onward as the lead see-sawed the whole game. Besiktas was in charge for much of the second half, until Labovic drained a triple to put FMP ahead in the final minute. Veyseloglu answered at the foul line and that was the difference.
Besiktas started the game strong, leading through 5 minutes before Erceg and Protic tied triples together to put FMP ahead 15-12. Apodaca answered with a bomb to tied, but Protic added 5 straight points as FMP led 20-15 after an 11-3 run. In the last minute of the quarter, Besiktas struck back with a 0-6 run led by Nicevic and Peker to go up again by 22-24 after 10 minutes. The guests continued their run in the second quarter, when Nicevic kept scoring until FMP sent in new big men Samardziski and Labovic. Besiktas was forced to shoot outside and Peker took advantage, nailing a triple. He added another basket as the Besiktas defense forced FMP into several turnovers and forged a 26-31 advantage based on a 2-7 run. When Protic and Erceg got back on the court, FMP cut the gap to 33-35, but Ozer Cevher re-opened the margin for Besiktas with a big triple. Apodaca pushed that difference to 33-40 before FMP switched to zone defense and in the final minute of the half ripped off 10-2 run to take over the lead at 43-42. Christian Dalmau's free throws still gave Besiktas a 43-44 halftime lead, however. After the break, FMP took back the advantage at 44-48 on Erceg's triple and a fastbreak layup by Protic. Apodaca was the man who kept Besiktas in the game then with jump shots while Mehmet Yagmur did the honors of forging a new tie. Besiktas went back to pressuring the FMP guards for turnovers that fueled a 2-9 run. Protic willed FMP back into another tie, but it was obvious that the hosts were struggling for each point, while Besiktas thrived in transition. It took a three-pointer on the third quarter buzzer by Micic to keep FMP as close as 63-65 after 30 minutes. Erceg opened final period with a bomb, giving FMP another lead. The teams were scoreless for the next 3 minutes until Apodaca scored from the three-point arc, sparking a 3-8 run in which Shumpert also scored as Besiktas took a 71-76 advantage with 4 minutes left. Labovic scored a bomb, giving hope to FMP with 2 minutes left. He came back in the final minute and repeated from long-range, givign back the lead to FMP at 77-76. Veyseloglu made 2 of 2 free throws with 13 seconds to go, however, and FMP called timeout for the last attack. Erceg missed and Besiktas celebrated 77-78 road win.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007