| With its Eurocup season in danger, Fortitudo shook off its winless tag in Group G with a huge 59-70 road win over BC FMP in Belgrade, Serbia on Tuesday. The victory left both teams with 1-2 records halfway through the regular season. Newly-acquired center Lazaros Papadopoulos paced Fortitudo with 13 points and 8 rebounds. Darryl Strawberry also had 13 points for the winners, including a string of late free throws, while Qyntel Woods had 11 and Jamont Gordon 10. For FMP, Dragan Labovic had 14 points and 8 rebounds while Predrag Samardziski tallied 11. A 0-15 run fueled Fortitudo's takeover of the scoreboard in the second quarter, when Woods poured in all of his 11 points without a miss off the bench. The visitors led by as many as 21 points, but FMP cut it to 13 entering the final quarter, when Fortitudo went to its veteran big men, Gregor Fucka and Papadopoulos, to end all doubts and take an all-important road win.
Fortitudo went right to its new big man, Papadopoulos, to start the game with a dunk and a layup, so that when Marcelinho Huertas hit a three-pointer, the guests were up 1-7. Dejan Musli and Guy Pnini settled FMP with a couple scores, but Huertas and Papadopoulos kept Fortitudo rolling to a 10-17 inside before Labovic nailed a triple from the corner at 14-17. Fucka and Samardziski traded inside shots. Filip Covic made 2 free throws at 18-19 as he and Huertas got whistles for a double technical foul, but Stefano Mancinelli got most of the difference back with a triple from up top as the first quarter ended 18-23. The second quarter started with a layup by Samardziski and went downhill quickly for FMP. A layup by Gordon and a dunk by Papadopoulos started a started a 0-15 take-over run for Fortutitudo that concluded, after an FMP timeout, with a layup by Mancinelli and a dunk by Woods. The score was 20-38 and Fortitudo had 10 steals to zero by FMP until then. Even after a hook shot by Labovic stopped the bleeding for FMP, Woods continued with a layup and three-pointer as Fortitudo coasted to a 30-50 halftime advantage.
Only short baskets by Zamardziski and Gordon were scored in the first 4 minutes after halftime, then Nemanja Protic took over with 4 points to get FMP within 38-54. Stevan Zivanovic hit from downtown for the hosts, but Matteo Malaventura and D.J. Strawberry kept Fortitudo comfortably ahead. Musli returned with a basket to trim the difference further, to 46-59, before the third quarter ended. Fortitudo came out in the final quarter looking and finding Papadopoulos and Fucka for early baskets that pushed the difference to 46-63. Fortitudo's defense and rebounding held FMP more than 3 minutes without a point, until Mladen Jeremic rifled in a triple, but Papadopoulos responded with a sky hook. Strawberry upped the difference to 49-68 at the free throw line while Fortitudo's defense continued frustrating FMP. Zivanovic's layup got the hosts within 52-68 with under 5 minutes lef, but the points came just as slowly after that, leaving FMP little chance to try for the win, even though it was able to limit the difference to with a dunk by Samardziski and free throws to 11 points at the finish.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008