| It took most of the night and most of its ingenuity, but Montepaschi Siena remained unbeated in Group A by outlasting Fenerbahce Ulker 83-87 on the road in Istanbul on Wednesday after fighting back for a second straight week from early double-digit deficits. Montepaschi improved to 4-0 going into a break week for all teams, while Fenerbahce fell to 2-2 at home despite a big effort. The hosts led by 11 points early, but by halftime were in a dogfight that Montepaschi settled with a 10-0 run led by Romain Sato midway through the fourth quarter. All-Euroleague point guard Terrell McIntyre paced the winners with 25 points in 22 minutes, including 5 three-pointers in 7 tries. Overall, Montepaschi shooters buried 13 of 26 from downtown, a big difference in the outcome, as Fenerbahce made only 5 of 11. David Hawkins added 15 pints for the winners, Henry Domercant 12 and Sato 10, including 5 in a row in the decisive run. Fenerbahce got 20 points from Tarence Kisney, while Lynn Greer added 17, Oguz Savas 14 and Emir Preldzic 10.
Fenerbahce went to big man Savas for the game's first basket, while Montepaschi waited for a Shaun Stonerook triple to take its first lead, 2-4. Both teams kept busy inside, with Erden finishing a pick-and-roll and an inbounds dunk at 8-6 before Sato's jumper tied it. Omer Onan answered from downtown and Erdin scored inside for a 13-8 Fenerbahce lead. The basket-trading continued between McIntyre and Greer, who exchanged both bank shots in traffic and face-up triples until a score of 18-16 Savas drew another foul and hit both free throws, Terence Kinsey hit a running one-hander and traded foul shots with Domercant, and then Omer Asik arrived with a basket. By the time Preldzic came off the bench for a baseline jumper and a put-back, Fenerbahce was rolling along with a double-digit lead, 30-19.
Domercant started Montepaschi off right in the second quarter, but Gordan Giricek matched him. When Nikos Zisis drove strong for a basket-plus-free throw, the lead was cut to 32-26 and the Montepaschi defense was closing off the middle to Fenerbahce. Good ball movement left Stonerook open for his second three-pointer, then Zisis went to work again, driving to the basket to make it 32-31 after a 10-0 run by the visitors. After a tiemout, Greer and Kinsey gave Fenerbahce new breathing room, while Savas returned with an inside basket at 38-35. Montepaschi refused to go away, not even when an intentional foul and Serhat Cetin's tip-in made it 42-37. McIntyre answered with a triple, then Sato tied it 42-42 going to the hoop. But now it was Fenerbahce's turn to come up big, as both Cetin and Kinsey launched three-pointers to make it 49-45. McIntyre made the last minute count, however, with free throws and a put-back layup near the buzzer to cut the difference to 50-49 at the half.
To start the second half, a McIntyre layup gave Montepaschi its first lead since the game's opening minutes, and when Greer answered quickly, the visitors' All-Euroleague point guard has his own, a big triple from the top at 52-54. Soon enough, however, Savas was ripping an offensive rebound and putting it back for a new Fenerbahce advantage, 55-54. Kinsey found Savas for another layup, which meant that a triple by Montepaschi sub Tomas Ress was good for another tie, 57-57. Neither team was giving an inch now. More than a minute after a tiemout, Kinsey dropped a turnaround in the lane, but Domercant bettered it from the arc to put Siena back up, 59-60. Back and for they went, with Preldzic putting the hosts ahead on a nice cut, only to see Ress strike again from the arc and Sato from the baseline to make it 61-65 Montepaschi.
Domercan't tried to complete a momentum switch with a big triple to open the final quarter. After a timeout, the hosts went right back to Savas for a back-in jump-hook. It took a couple minutes of trying against the Montepaschi defense before Greer got to the line to make it 65-68 with 6 minutes left. Next, a Giricek-to-Savas-to-Asik sequence ended with a layup to make it 67-68, but seconds later Sato drilled a corner triple. He then stole and got fouled posting up, hitting both free throws at 67-73, which amounted to the biggest lead of the night for Montepaschi. After a timeout, the visitors stuck the knife in with a triple by Hawkins and his layup after a steal to make it 67-78 after a 0-10 run. Kinsey answered from downtown, then made an amazing drive left for a swooping basket and the free throw that came with it. Like that, it was 73-78 with 2 minutes left. Hawkins added a free throw to the lead before a pair by McIntyre and his patented pick-and-roll assist for a dunk by Ben Eze settled the matter in the final minute. Montpaschi was still undefeated after four weeks in Group A.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009