Bjelica's heroics lift Fenerbahce past Barcelona
In a great battle between Turkish Airlines Euroleague powerhouses in Group C, Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul needed overtime to down previously undefeated FC Barcelona 89-91 on the road on Thursday. Fenerbahce improved to 7-2 in Group C while Barcelona dropped to 8-1. Barcelona has virtually locked first place as both teams exchanged two-point wins while its overall score difference (+110 to Fenerbahce's +50) makes it almost impossible to overcome if Fenerbahce wins and Barcelona loses next week. Bogdan Bogdanovic paced the winners with 23 points, but Nemanja Bjelica was the man of the game, forcing overtime with a tip-in and hitting the go-ahead layup with 2.9 seconds left. Jan Vesely added 16 points and 10 rebounds, Bjelica scored 13, Andrew Goudelock 12 and Ricky Hickman 11. Marcelinho Huertas led Barcelona with 25 points. DeShaun Thomas added 23 while Justin Doellman and Mario Hezonja each had 12 for the hosts, who trailed 37-42 at halftime, but got a 61-59 lead after three quarters. A big basket by Huertas gave Barcelona a 79-77 lead with 32.7 seconds left in regulation, but Bjelica forced overtime with a tip-in. Once in the extra period, Ante Tomic tied the game with an off-balance shot, but he missed the free throw that came with it. Bjelica sealed the outcome with the game-winning basket.
First quarter: Thomas shines, Fenerbahce leads
Thomas got Barcelona going with a layup and soon added a jump hook for a 4-0 lead. Semih Erden stepped up with a three-point play, but a red-hot Thomas scored again and a dunk by Alex Abrines boosted the hosts' lead to 8-3. Goudelock struck from downtown, but Thomas erased it with a layup-plus-foul. A dunk by Erden kept Fenerbahce within 11-8. After Bogdanovic nailed a step-back triple, Ante Tomic hit a jump hook. Free throws by Abrines restored a 15-11 Barcelona margin. Ricky Hickman joined Fenerbahce's three-point shootout, but an outstanding Thomas gave the hosts fresh air at 17-14. Free throws by Nemanja Bjelica and a layup by Bogdanovic gave the guests their first lead, 17-18. Thomas answered from downtown, but Hickman hit foul shots and a layup by Luka Zoric caused Barcelona to call timeout at 19-22. Thomas hit foul shots and a running jumper by Marcelinho tied it at 23-23. Zoric allowed Fenerbahce to regain a 23-25 edge after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Erden, Bogdanovic boost Fenerbahce's margin
Huertas hit an acrobatic jumper early in the quarter, as Barcelona improved its defense. Fenerbahce was held scoreless for two minutes until Goudelock nailed a one-handed jumper in the lane. Huertas answered from beyond the arc and a close basket by Tibor Pleiss gave the hosts a 30-27 edge. Bogdanovic buried a big triple and a running jumper by Goudelock put Fenerbahce back ahead, 30-32. Tomas Satoransky provided a highlight with a one-handed dunk, which Vesely erased with a high-flying alley-oop slam. Bogdanovic fired in a mid-range jumper and scored in penetration for a 32-38 Fenerbahce edge. Barcelona tried twin point guards with Satoransky and Huertas together on court. Erden took over with a tip-in and matched Thomas's foul shots with a two-handed dunk. A buzzer-beating slam by Thomas fixed the halftime score at 37-42.
Third quarter: Doellman puts Barcelona ahead
Doellman, who had been scoreless until this point, buried a three-pointer immediately after the break. Hezonja also struck from downtown for a 43-42 Barcelona lead. Fenerbahce struggled to score for almost three minutes until Bogdanovic stepped up with a layup, but Doellman followed a six-meter jumper with a tip-in for a 47-44 Barcelona lead. Emir Preldzic buried a triple - his first points, too. Tomic fed Thomas for a layup, which Vesely matched with a second-chance basket. Tomic kept pacing Barcelona with free throws and a fast break layup by Huertas caused the guests to call timeout at 53-49. Vesely scored again, but Hezonja did better with a three-pointer. Goudelock answered with a floater and a corner triple by Bogdanovic tied it at 56-56. Hezonja connected from downtown, but Vesely scored around the basket and Bogdanovic tied it at 59-59. Doellman banked in a close shot for a 61-59 Barcelona edge.
Fourth quarter: Edge-of-your-seat drama
Vesely took over with an acrobatic basket early in the quarter. Maciej Lampe quickly answered with a tip-in, which Goudelock bettered with a three-pointer in transition for a 63-64 Fenerbahce lead. Doellman split free throws, but Bjelica struck from downtown to put the guests back ahead, 64-67. Vesely split foul shots and Hezonja rescued Barcelona with a three-pointer to make it 67-68 with six minutes left. Huertas took over with a wild driving layup, as Barcelona excelled on defense right when it mattered most. Bjelica stepped up with a three-pointer to restore a 69-71 Fenerbahce edge with three minutes left. Huertas scored in penetration and added free throws for a 73-71 Barcelona lead. Thomas ignited the crowd with a two-handed slam, but Bjelica split free throws and a fast break layup by Hickman made it 75-74 with 58 seconds left. Huertas hit foul shots but a three-point play by Bogdanovic tied it at 77-77 with 48.6 seconds left. Huertas nailed an off-balance shot, but a tip-in by Bjelica tied it again, 79-79, with 14.6 seconds to go. Huertas and Bogdanovic missed respective off-balance shots down the stretch.
Overtime: Bjelica comes through
Hickman struck from downtown early in the extra period, but Huertas swished one from beyond the arc to tie the game again, 82-82. Doellman buried his trademark turnaround jumper, which Vesely erased with a layup. Huertas split free throws on Hickman's fifth foul, which Vesely bettered with a monster slam for a 85-86 Fenerbahce edge with two minutes left. Vesely split free throws and an off-balance layup by Tomic tied it again, 87-87. Fenerbahce got the ball back and Barcelona fouled Bogdanovic, who made both attempts for an 87-89 Fenerbahce edge with 13 seconds left. Huertas drew a foul and made both attempts, but a layup by Bjelica in the closing seconds won it Fenerbahce!
Thursday, December 11, 2014