Llull, Ayon lead champs past Fenerbahce
Real Madrid improved its chances to make it to the Top 16 from Group A by downing Fenerbahce Istabul 80-73 in the Spanish capital in front of over 10,000 fans at Barclaycard Center on Thursday. Madrid improved to 3-5 and faces a must-win game against FC Bayern Munich next week. Fenerbahce, which qualified for the Top 16 last week, dropped to 6-2 and stays first in Group A. Sergio Llull had all of his 17 points in the final 16 minutes to lead the winners. Gustavo Ayon added 15 and Felipe Reyes had 13 for Madrid. Jan Vesely led Fenerbahce with 20 points and Bobby Dixon added 15. Vesely and Luigi Datome shined early to give Fenerbahce a 16-28 lead late in the first quarter. Youngsters Luka Doncic and Willy Hernangomez fueled a 14-0 run, which Jaycee Carroll capped with a three-pointer that gave Madrid a 32-28 lead. Dixon and Vesely allowed Fenerbahce to regain the lead, 36-45, at halftime. Ayon took over after the break and got help from Llull to help Madrid get the lead, 56-55, through three quarters. A three-pointer by Dixon tied it at 66-66, but Jeffery Taylor, Llull and Ayon fueled a 10-0 run that sealed the outcome down the stretch.
First quarter: Fenerbahce, Datome roll
Dixon needed just 9 second to strike from downtown and Vesely split free throws for a 0-4 Fenerbahce lead. Reyes quickly stepped up with a put-back layup-plus-foul, which Nikola Kalinic erased with a triple that hit the rim, went up and fell down. Ayon shined with a backdoor layup that Vesely erased with a close basket to keep the guests ahead, 5-9. Sergio Rodriguez fed Ayon for an alley-oop dunk and added an acrobatic basket that tied it at 9-9. Datome stepped up with a three-pointer and erased Reyes's basket with a one-handed dunk. After Reyes sank free throws, Vesely answered with a three-point play and a step-back jumper by Datome boosted the guests' lead to 13-19. Pero Antic struck from downtown and free throws by Bogdanovic made it a double-digit game, 13-24. Carroll downed his trademark triple off a screen, but free throws by Bogdan Bogdanovic and a one-handed jumper by Datome gave the guests a 16-28 lead, which a dunk by Taylor cut to 18-28 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Madrid bounces back, Fener reacts
Willy Hernangomez dunked early in the quarter and free throws by Luka Doncic brought Madrid to 22-28. A block by Andres Nocioni allowed Doncic to shine with a driving layup, bringing Los Blancos within 4. An unstoppable Hernangomez ignited the crowd with a dunk and a three-pointer by Nocioni completed the hosts' comeback at 29-28. Fenerbahce could not find the way to the basket and Carroll swished a corner triple to cap a 14-0 run, which prompted the visitors to call timeout at 32-28. Antic scored around the basket and a baseline jumper by Dixon tied it at 32-32. Bogdanovic made free throws and another jumper by Dixon gave the guests fresh air, 32-37, after a 0-9 run. Doncic and Reyes made free throws but so did Vesely and Dixon. Vesely split foul shots twice and added a huge alley-oop dunk to give Fenerbahce a 36-45 edge at halftime.
Third quarter: Ayon puts Madrid in charge
Ayon scored down low immediately after the break, as Madrid held Fenerbahce scoreless for more than two minutes. Ayon kept pushing Madrid with a driving layup, which Omer Yurtseven matched with a jump hook. Rodriguez took over with a bomb from downtown, but Kostas Sloukas quickly answered with a driving layup in transition and soon split free throws for a 43-50 Fenerbahce lead. Llull, who had been scoreless until this point, nailed a three-pointer and followed that with free throws to keep Los Blancos within 48-50. Yurtseven dunked and a three-pointer by Sloukas kept Fenerbahce out of trouble, 48-55. Ayon split foul shots and consecutive layups by Reyes made it a 2-point game. Fenerbahce kept missing shots and an outstanding Ayon put Madrid back ahead, 56-55, at the end of the quarter.
Fourth quarter: Champs shine in crunch time
Llull buried another one from beyond the arc early in the fourth. A block by Ayon allowed Taylor to get a tip-in at the other end that brought the crowd to its feet at 61-55. Vesely, on court with 4 fouls, scored around the basket, but Llull answered with a driving layup. Sloukas shined with a driving layup and Kalinic added free throws that made it 63-61. Llull sank another triple, Vesely dunked again and a three-pointer by Dixon tied it at 66-66 with less than six minutes left. Carroll buried a baseline jumper and free throws by Rodriguez gave Madrid a 70-66 lead. Ayon shined with a wild put-back basket, which caused Fenerbahce to call timeout at 72-66 with over three minutes to go. The guests struggled to score when it mattered most and Ayon split free throws for a 73-66 Madrid lead. A three-pointer by Taylor sealed the outcome, as over 10,000 Madrid fans celebrated a very important win.
Thursday, December 3, 2015