Panathinaikos hands Fenerbahce its first Top 16 loss
There are no more unbeaten teams in the Top 16 after Panathinaikos Athens earned a hard-fought 76-71 victory over visiting Fenerbahce Istanbul and former Greens head coach Zeljko Obradovic in the Game of the Week in the Greek capital on Thursday night. Panathinaikos picked up its fourth consecutive win to improve to 5-3 and at least a share of third place of Group E, while Fenerbahce remains in first place with a 7-1 record. Neither team held a lead bigger than 8 points in this clash. Fenerbahce went up 20-28 in the second quarter, but Panathinaikos answered with an 11-0 run. It was 36-36 at halftime and Fenerbahce had a 42-45 edge in the third, but the hosts quickly regained the lead and never trailed again. Antonis Fotsis hit a pair of big three-pointers in the fourth quarter, and when the visitors came within 72-71 in the final minute, Euroleague debutante Elliot Williams sealed the game. Williams finished with 14 points. Miroslav Raduljica had 13 points and 5 rebounds, Nick Calathes scored 9, while Dimitris Diamantidis contributed with 6 points and 7 assists in less than 20 minutes on the floor. Ekpe Udoh led Fenerbahce with 19 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks. Bobby Dixon netted 16, and Jan Vesely collected 12 points and 7 rebounds in defeat.
First quarter: Fener goes in front in early
Vesely opened scoring with a big dunk, and after Williams made free throws, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Dixon hit back-to-back threes to make it 2-8. Raduljica made a put-back for the Greens, but Luigi Datome had an easy driving layup for the visitors. After Calathes and Datome traded jumpers, Calathes drove for a tough layup to get within 8-12. Following a timeout, Ognjen Kuzmic and Udoh traded baskets from close range. Kuzmic added free throws to the Greens' tally, and after Vesely fought his way for a basket inside, Gist drove to the hoop to cut the deficit to 14-16. But before the quarter's end, Dixon nailed a long jumper and Udoh made a pair of foul shots to give Fenerbahce a 15-20 advantage after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Williams ignites the Greens
Udoh scored inside to start the quarter, but Raduljica made a spin move on the baseline and finished it with a reverse slam. Nikola Kalinic hit a jumper for the visitors, but James Feldeine bettered it with a triple for Panathinaikos. Fenerbahce kept control with Vesely's basket inside and Dixon's long jumper made it 20-28. Raduljica scored from close range. Then Williams scored back-to-back fastbreak dunks – first an alley-oop from Calathes, and then off his own steal – getting the hosts within 2. A triple from Dimitris Diamantidis gave Panathinaikos its first lead, and Calathes scored a fastbreak layup to make it 31-28. Udoh snapped an 11-0 run with a three-point play and then added a pair of fouls shots. MarQuez Haynes hit 3 from the free throw line, before Datome got a shooter's roll on a corner triple for a slim lead. Gist finished scoring in the first half with a close-range basket, making it 36-36 at halftime.
Third quarter: Hosts hold on to slim lead
Baskets were few and far between at the start of the second half. Kuzmic scored a tip-in, and Feldeine stole the ball and raced for a fastbreak dunk. Fenerbahce needed almost three minutes to score before a dunk by Udoh. Dixon followed by driving to the basket and tying the game at 40-40. The scoring picked up midway through the quarter as Gist scored inside after a touch-pass by Raduljica. Udoh hit a mid-range jumper and Bogdanovic a triple, but Calathes drove for a three-point play and tied it at 45-45. After a timeout, Diamantidis and Bogdanovic traded threes. Williams made free throws and Diamantidis fed Raduljica inside for a layup that put the Greens in front again. Raduljica’s dunk after a pick-and-roll with Williams opened a 54-49 margin, but Dixon made free throws and then a driving reverse layup, helping Fenerbahce get within 55-53.
Fourth quarter: Fotsis and Williams make clutch shots
Fotsis made a corner triple in the opening minute of the quarter, but a big Vesely put-back and a triple from Melih Mahmutoglu tied things at 58-58. After a timeout, Feldeine nailed a three for the hosts, then Haynes made 3 free throws following a technical on Coach Obradovic. Diamantidis and Gist hooked up for an alley-oop dunk to open a 66-59 advantage. Following a timeout, Vesely made a pair of free throws, and after a Williams jumper, Mahmutoglu answered with a triple to get Fenerbahce within 4. But Fotsis hit from way downtown and after Raduljica split free throws, the hosts led 72-64. Udoh scored a put-back with two minutes left and had another dunk. Dixon’s transition triple cut it to 72-71 with 52 seconds to go. But on ensuing possession, Diamantidis fed Williams for a layup, and the latter sealed it from the foul line.
Thursday, February 25, 2016