Fenerbahce seizes Istanbul derby in final 30 seconds!
In an Istanbul derby that more than lived up to its billing, host Anadolu Efes and visiting Fenerbahce Ulker spent 39-and-a-half minutes exchanging ties and leads before the visitors took over the last 32 seconds to bring a good-as-gold 71-77 road win back to the Asian side of the city on Friday. The victory broke their third-place tie in Group F as Fenerbahce's record improved to 5-2 with a seventh consecutive road win dating back to the regular season, while Efes dropped to 4-3. In a see-saw battle featuring 11 lead changes and 9 ties, neither team led by 7 points. The visitors were up 33-36 at the half and 53-54 on a buzzer-beater by Nemanja Bjelica to close the third quarter. Thomas Heurtel scored the first basket of the fourth, however, and Efes stayed ahead until a Nikos Zisis corner triple with 1:37 to play. The thrilling last minute saw Stratos Perperoglou put Efes back in front before Andrew Goudelock, quiet all game, blasted the go-ahead triple for Fenerbahce at 69-71 with 32 seconds left. Ricky Hickman downed 4 of 4 free throws after that while Emir Preldzic and Bjelica made steals to lock up the victory. Bjelica and Jan Vesely had 14 points each for the winners, while Hickman added 11, Goudelock and Oguz Savas 10 each. Heurtel had 10 of his team-high 17 points in the final quarter for Efes. Dontaye Draper followed with 13, while Perperoglou scored 11.
First quarter: Defenses rule in low-scoring start
Goudelock got his team's offense going with a jump shot while Bjelica did so with a huge block on defense, so that when Zisis hit a free throw Fenerbahce was up 0-3. Nenad Krstic downed foul shots and Matt Janning raced off a screen for a three-pointer and the first lead by Efes, 5-3. Semih Erden was next to the line for a tie before Dario Saric put back a third-chance basket to keep Efes ahead. Nothing fell for Efes and only free throws for Fenerbahce until Savaz entered and dropped a pair of inside baskets for a 7-11 Fenerbahce advantage. The Efes subs restarted its offense, too, as Draper arrived and made free throws, then Perperoglou fed Stephane Lasme for the hosts' first field goal in 5 minutes. Hickman, making his first appearance after five weeks out due to injury, downed free throws that were enough to keep Fenerbahce a step ahead, 11-13, after one quarter.
Second quarter: Vesely, Hickman provide halftime edge
Vesely's put-back to start the second quarter and his assist to Goudelock for a nothing-but-net corner triple amounted to the first scoreboard takeover as the visitors surged ahead 11-18. Out of a timeout, Efes turned one steal into a fastbreak layup by Heurtel and another into an open three-pointer by Draper. Out of its own timeout, Fenerbahce got a triple from Hickman, while Heurtel's bounced up and in to keep Efes within 19-21. An amazing play with 2 blocks by Fenerbahce and a save by Lasme ended with Perperoglou beating the shot clock with a game-tying turnaround jumper. Vesely contrasted that effort with a quick, easy basket inside, but Draper stayed hot with a go-ahead three from the corner. When Lasme scored inside, Efes went ahead 26-23. Vesely's jump hook got Fenerbahce closer and a later free throw tied it up again. Preldzic got loose for an open layup that Perperoglou answered with a driving version at the other end. Vesely's step-through basket was followed by Hickman blasting to the basket to put Fenerbahce ahead 29-32. Free throws by Krstic were answered by Nemanja Bjelica's jump shot. Hickman caught the Efes defense sleeping with a pass for a layup by Vesely but Milko Bjelica matched it in similar fashion for Efes as the half ended 33-36 in favor of the visitors.
Third quarter: Bjelica keeps visitors ahead
The third quarter opened with Fenerbahce's Bogdan Bogdanovic limping off after hurting his ankle on a rebound. Savas sparked the visitors with an inside basket, then Preldzic sent Bjelica ahead for a dunk at 33-40. Perperoglou answered that dunk and Draper hit 3 of 4 free throws that pulled Efes within 38-40. Draper fed Furkan Korkmaz to finish a 7-0 Efes run with a 40-40 tie, but Savas scored in close again to put Fenerbahce back in front. Draper's free throws were answered by Nemanja Bjelica driving to beat the shot clock and repeating that play after free throws from Saves to make it 42-48. Korkmaz was left open and drilled a much-needed three-pointer for Efes at 45-48. Kenan Sipahi joined Fenerbahce's offense with a stop-and-pop jumper. Perperoglou and Krstic combined for 4 of 4 free throws to make it 49-50, allowing Heurtel to take the lead with a double-pump layup. Sipahi answered with his own layup and the lead switched hands again with free throws by Krstic at 53-52. The third quarter ended, however, with Nemanja Bjelica's turnaround jumper on an inbounds play to beat the buzzer and return the edge to Fenerbahce again, 53-54, after 30 minutes.
Foruth quarter: Thrills by the minute until Goudelock steps up
Heurtel took back the lead with a jumper to open fourth quarter and then fed Cedi Osman for a three-pointer to make it 58-54. Luka Zoric came in for Fenerbahce and tipped in a miss. Milko Bjelica answered with an inside basket to keep Efes ahead 60-56. Goudelock made a runner to get Fenerbahce closer but Heurtel's layup dropped high off the glass in response. Vesely came back and tipped in a shot at 62-60, but again Heurtel had the answer for Efes, a jumper from the lane. Osman mistakenly fouled Nemanja Bjelica as he tried to beat the shot clock with a desperation triple, but he made just 1 of 3 free throws. Preldzic made up for it, however, with a driving layup plus free throw for another tie, 64-64, with 2:23 to play. Heurtel drilled a long two-pointer but Zisis made his a little longer from the corner for a new lead change. When Vesely added a free throw Fenerbahce was up 66-68 going into the final minute. But when Draper found Perperoglou on the arc, the veteran was ready with his best shot as Efes siezed the lead again, 69-68, with 38 seconds left. Out of a Fenerbahce timeout, Goudelock quickly came off a screen, rose high and blasted his own three-pointer to make it 69-71 with 31 seconds left. A few seconds later, Preldzic tipped the ball from Janning, forcing a turnover that led to Hickman making 2 of 2 free throws at 69-73. Heurtel answered with a quick layup with 14 seconds left, but Efes was forced to put Hickman back on the line, where he was perfect again. In the waning seconds, as Efes tried to come up with a miracle, Nemanja Bjelica came up with a steal and dunk instead to make sure of his team's seventh consecutive road win.
Friday, February 13, 2015