Fenerbahce Ulker scored a 70-58 win over visiting Benetton Treviso on Wednesday at the Abdi Ipekçi Sports Hall in Istanbul, Turkey, to remain in the hunt for a spot in the Top 16. Kaspars Kambala scored 23 points and grabbed 8 rebounds as Fenerbahce improved to 3-7 in Group C. Benetton dropped to 6-4, but will remain in third place after Pau-Orthez lost at CSKA Moscow earlier in the evening. Kambala also drew 11 fouls, decimating an already thin Benetton frontline, which was missing star power forward Marcus Goree who was out with an injury. Will Solomon scored 14 of his 18 points in the first quarter to help the hosts take the early lead and Damir Mrsic picked up the scoring in the second as Fenerbahce led 36-28. Spencer Nelson helped Benetton close to within 48-44 in the third, but the defensive efforts of Rasim Basak and Omer Onan allowed the hosts to rebuild quickly on the way to the big win. Mrsic finished with 14 for Fenerbahce. Marco Mordente led Benetton with 15, while Angelo Gigli added 12 and Joey Beard had 9 rebounds before fouling out.
Fenerbahce started with some aggressive defense, but struggled to score in the first couple of minutes. Nelson put Benetton on the board first after just 34 seconds. Solomon responded for the hosts with a three that was a sign of what was to come. Bryant Smith's three-pointer after three minutes helped swing the lead back to Treviso, but Solomon was just getting started. He added two more threes and a two-pointer, giving him 11 as Fenerbahce took a 13-9 lead midway through the period. Eddie Basden's layup completed an 8-0 that put the hosts up 6. Benetton tried a zone defense, but Solomon punished it with another triple to end the period at 18-11.
Benetton strengthened its defense in the second period and made it hard for the home team to score. The man-to-man defense worked well and Mordente’s points carried the visitors back. His 7 points on a triple and two layups reduced the gap to 24-22. Fenerbahce, held to 4 points in six minutes, responded through Kambala’s two free throws plus followed by two Mrsic three pointers for an 8-1 run as the hosts built a 32-23 advantage. Benetton once again turned to zone defense, but couldn't cut away at the difference as the score sat at 36-28 at halftime.
Fenerbahce started to play inside on Kambala, breaking away Benetton's defensive wall. After a pair of Kambala layups and a three from Mrsic, Fenerbahce's lead swelled to 44-31. Beard picked up his fourth foul, but managed to remain in the game as Mordente drilled a three-pointer and Smith dropped in a layup to make it 48-40. Nelson brought Benetton within 4 from the line, but the home team – led by Basak and Onan – stepped up on defense to keep Treviso at bay. Mrsic hit another critical three from the left side and a little later Onan finished a fast break to make it 53-44 for the home team. Speedy Onan made another basket in transition to end the third period score at 57-46 for Fenerbahce.
Fenerbahce remained strong on defense in the last quarter, while Kambala was unstoppable on the other end. The Latvian center broke Benetton with his strong inside game, taking his team to a 61-46 advantage. Mordente’s three pointer made it 63-51, but Onan's fastbreak layup at 35.39 extended the lead once again to 14 points. Benetton pulled its big men and tried to catch Fener with a fast game and outside shots, but the things didn't work well for Benetton as Fenerbahce snatched the win.
Wednesday, January 3, 2007