2008-09Regular SeasonRound 1
October 20, 2008 CET: 20:30
Local time: 20:30 FERNANDO BUESA ARENA

Tau Ceramica beat Fenerbahce Ulker 80-70

Tau Ceramica capped a special night for the club by topping Fenerbahce Ulker 80-70 in the 2008-09 Euroleague Basketball Opening Game held at a fully-packed Fernando Buesa Arena in Vitoria, Spain, on Monday night. Igor Rakocevic paced the winners with 24 points, 20 of them before halftime. Will McDonald added 17 on 7-for-7 shooting and had 8 rebounds plus 5blocks, while Pete Mickeal posted 15 points and 8 rebounds for Tau. Devin Smith scored 13 points for Fener, Oguz Savas and Rasim Basak each added 11 and Mirsad Turkcan got 10 for an injury-plagued for Fenerbahce, which was without four key players - Omer Asik, Omer Onan, Gordan Giricek and Semih Erden. Turkcan and an outstanding three-pointer by Damir Mrsic allowed the visitors to take a 19-21 edge after 10 minutes. Mickeal shined early in the second quarter and Rakocevic followed a layup with back-to-back triples for a 42-34 Tau margin at halftime. Tau improved its intensity at both ends right after the break, led by Mickeal and an outstanding McDonald. Basak, Smith and Savas brought Fenerbahce as close as 70-68 with three minutes to go, but Rakocevic and Mirza Teletovic stepped up big to win it for Tau. The opening game commemorated Saski Baskonia's 50th anniversary. Tau Ceramica invited many former players and coaches to the game, as well as having aurreskus - traditional Basque folk dances - before the game and during halftime. Tau Ceramica unveiled its state-of-the-art BAKH Sports Complex earlier in the day, just meters away from Buesa Arena.

Gasper Vidmar had the honor of scoring first in the 2008-09 Euroleague season on an easy layup, but Rakocevic immediately answered from downtown for a 3-2 Tau lead. Turkcan shined with a left-handed layup and Basak added a five-meter jumper to put Fener back ahead 3-6. Rakocevic sank his second triple, but Emir Preldzic and Marques Green stepped up to give the guests a 6-11 lead. Mustafa Shakur sank a baseline jumper only to see Basak bettered that with one from downtown, good for a 10-14 Fener lead. Stanko Barac took over with a jump hook, but Mickeal had troubles against Turkcan's outstanding defense. He finally found his first points on a layup-plus-foul to put Tau back ahead, 15-14. Fenerbahce called timeout, but Rakocevic capped a 7-0 run with an easy basket. Turkcan stepped up with his trademark put-back layup and Smith added a second-chance basket. Mickeal kept pacing Tau with free throws, however Damir Mrsic took over with a wild triple to give Fenerbahce a 19-21 edge after 10 minutes.

Green finished a third-chance Fenerbahce offense with a tip-in as the guests kept dominating the offensive board. Barac and Mickeal got Tau going consecutive jumpers to tie the game at 23-23. Green silenced the crowd with a three-pointer, which Pablo Prigioni matched with a seven-meter bomb. He soon found Teletovic for a dunk on a high post pick-and-roll. Preldzic provided a highlight with a lightning quick fast break layup, as Tau had already entered the foul bonus midway through the second quarter. Fernando San Emeterio shined with a reverse layup, but Turkcan followed a long jumper with a great move in the low post for a 30-32 Fener edge. McDonald had a huge block on Smith and a layup in the other end while Rakocevic scored off a steal, but a layup by Oguz Savas tied it again at 32-32. Rakocevic sank a mid-range shot off a timeout and immediately buried consecutive three-pointers to set Buesa Arena on fire and give Tau a 42-34 halftime margin, after a 10-2 run.

Vidmar provided a highlight with a tremendous two-handed, put-back dunk early in the third quarter and Smith sank a mid-range jumper to get Fener within 46-38. Mickeal struck from downtown and Tau improved its defense, taking the game to a more physical level. Smith kept pacing Fener but did not find much help around. Tau now controlled the defensive boards while McDonald dunked it for a 52-41 margin. Turkcan hit free throws once Tau had an early entry in the foul bonus, but McDonald erased them with a jumper and Shakur scored off a steal to break the game open, 56-42. McDonald took over with a wild block on Hakan Demirel and even when head coach Bogdan Tanjevic called a much-needed timeout, Tau was all over the place now. Fenerbahce tried an effective 2-3 zone defense while Savas and Mrsic gave the guests some fresh air with consecutive layups. McDonald collected a steal and scored in the other end, but Basak brought Fener within single digits, 59-50. A three-point play by McDonald and a final basket by Savas fixed the score at 62-52 after 30 minutes.

Preldzic shined with a driving layup early in the fourth quarter, but Tau stopped struggling against the guests' 2-1-2 zone defense. McDonald took over with a put-back dunk and a mid-range jumper, good for a 66-54 Tau margin. Savas rescued Fenerbahce with a layup and Basak fired in his third three-pointer to bring the guests within 66-59. Rakocevic found his first points in the second half, but Smith answered with a three-point play to cause Tau to call timeout at 68-62. Fener missed critical shots from downtown right in crunch time, but Savas sank his first attempt to make it a 4-point game, 69-65, with over four minutes to go. McDonald made a free throw and blocked Turkcan's floating layup attempt. Mrisc, however, sank a running triple to get Fener back in the game, 70-68. Teletovic answered from downtown while Rakocevic added an alley-oop layup for a 75-68 edge, with 1:48 remaining. Smith scored again already in the final minute, but it was too little, too late for Fenerbahce, as the Tau fans were already celebrating a big, special home win.

Monday, October 20, 2008
Javier Gancedo, Vitoria
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Attendance: 9710
By Quarter1234
Tau Ceramica19232018
Fenerbahce Ulker21131818
End of Quarter1234
Tau Ceramica19426280
Fenerbahce Ulker21345270
Tau Ceramica
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 PRIGIONI, PABLO 22:20 4   1/5 1/4   3 3 2 2 1     2 2 3
8 RAKOCEVIC, IGOR 33:58 24 5/7 4/10 2/2 1   1 1 2 2   1 1 3 19
9 VIDAL, SERGI DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
10 NOCEDAL, MATIAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
11 ESLAVA, ARIEL DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
12 TELETOVIC, MIRZA 33:37 5 1/3 1/6   2 8 10     3   1 5   -1
19 SAN EMETERIO, FERNANDO 9:06 4 1/2 0/2 2/2   1 1 2 1         2 7
21 SPLITTER, TIAGO DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
22 SHAKUR, MUSTAFA 17:40 6 2/3 0/2 2/2   1 1   1 1     1 1 4
33 MICKEAL, PETE 35:23 15 4/5 1/2 4/5 2 6 8 2 2 3     3 6 24
42 BARAC, STANKO 11:15 4 2/2       1 1           3   2
45 MCDONALD, WILL 36:41 18 7/7   4/7 4 4 8 2 2 2 5   2 4 32
Team                     1       1  
Totals 200:00 80 22/29 7/27 15/22 9 24 33 9 10 13 5 2 17 19 90
        75.9% 25.9% 68.2%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Fenerbahce Ulker
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 GREEN, MARQUES 30:02 5 0/1 1/3 2/2   3 3 7 2 1     2 1 12
6 TURKCAN, MIRSAD 28:29 10 4/6 0/3 2/2 1 8 9 2   3   1 2 2 12
8 BASAK, RASIM 19:36 11 1/1 3/4   1 1 2   1 2     3 1 9
10 GIRICEK, GORDAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
12 MRSIC, DAMIR 23:01 8 1/1 2/5           2 2     1 1 5
14 VIDMAR, GASPER 15:32 5 2/4   1/2 1 1 2   1   1 1 1 3 7
15 DEMIREL, HAKAN 7:12   0/2 0/1   1   1 1   1   1 1   -4
18 KANTER, ENES DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 SAVAS, OGUZ 23:31 11 4/6 1/1             3 1   1 2 8
32 SMITH, DEVIN 27:47 13 5/11 0/4 3/3 5 4 9 1   1   2 4 3 9
55 PRELDZIC, EMIR 24:50 7 3/5 0/4 1/1 1 2 3 1 1 1     4 3 4
Team             1 1   1       1   1
Totals 200:00 70 20/37 7/25 9/10 10 20 30 12 8 14 2 5 20 16 63
        54.1% 28% 90%

Head Coaches

Tau Ceramica
"Good evening. Playing the first game in a new competition is always tough, we know it. Fenerbahce Ulker is a very good team, despite having missed Gordan Giricek with a last-minute injury. It's still a talented team, very versatile at power forward. Apart from the beginning of the game, when we did not come out on defense and put pressure on the ball. Also, attacking their open zone, we were too static, not moving the ball well. Other than that, of course there are things to improve, but considering that this is our first Euroleague game of the season, I am happy. We have to work on attacking zone defenses or everyone will use it against us. We were too static but when we managed to get the ball inside, we scored. We missed outside shots and when you miss and try to attack a zone with more outside shots, it leads to insecurity. We have room for improvement and we'll find answers. If everything goes as expected, Tiago Splitter will play this weekend but Sergi Vidal did not practice, so I don't know. Pablo Prigioni played in pain tonight. We knew it would be a difficult game for us."
Fenerbahce Ulker
"I think it has been a good game to start the Euroleague season. Tau Ceramica deserved to win the game, but I think we have been very close to win it, too. At some point we werr only trailing by 5 points but the outcome was what it was and we cannot change it. Both players were without important players. Tau has missed Tiago Splitter and Sergi Vidal. Meanwhile, we were without four key players, who can be in our starting five, like Omer Onan, Gordan Giricek, Semih Erden and Omer Asik, who will not be back until the second part of the season. After all, with all this absences we managed to stay in the game and have our chances to win it in the final minutes. Giricek had some injury problems in the last 2-3 days and could not play tonight."


Tau Ceramica
"It was a hard game tonight, all the absences made the game a little bit different than we could expect with both teams' rosters full, but no matter who is playing or not, we have to play hard and play well. I think we did a good job in defense in key moments of the game, making a big effort. Zone defense was hard to break for us sometimes, but thanks to our offensive rebounding and a couple of key threes we were able to escape. Will McDonald played great against the zone, he grabbed important rebounds and gave us solutions. It’s going to be the same all season, we will have healthy players and injured players, but no matter who we have we will play well. We showed we are able to play well and win despite of the problems and all season long we must do the same, whoever is on court we are going to play well."
Tau Ceramica
"It was a tough game, as we expected. The best thing is that we managed to take the win despite of the absences and injuries. We knew they are a great team, they count on experienced players, and the whole group is a solid and balanced one, with quality players at all positions. We are working everyday to build our chances to win at the end of the competition, but it's important to keep winning now and keep growing as a group. We are struggling against zone defense lately, but the team reacted well and rebounded pretty well on offense to compensate for slow ball circulation and missed shots."
Fenerbahce Ulker
"We lost the game because of offensive rebounding, We didn't box out well, they did and they got a lot of second chance points. We missed key players and maybe we needed some fresh air in our rotation to keep the intensity in our defense for the whole game. We tried to come back, playing zone, doing different things to change the pace of the game, but in the end, offensive rebounding killed us. They are the best team in our group."
Fenerbahce Ulker
"It's true we missed important guys in our rotation, but I wouldn't take it as an excuse, because they also missed a couple of key players, like Splitter and Vidal. I think all the guys in our team stepped up and did a good job. Tau was able to make great plays at the end and that was the difference. Tau is a great team, they played at home and you must expect some runs against during the game. They forced some turnovers that allowed them to take the lead, but that’s normal. We came back in the second half thanks to the zone defense, which was a great decision by our coach, but our main problem was rebounding. I think we need to improve our defense and rebounding to be able to beat them in Istanbul."
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