In a game so dramatic, it had to be won twice, Fenerbahce Ulker rallied from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat visiting Lietuvos Rytas 95-91 after overtime on Thursday in Instanbul, Turkey. Fenerbahce improved to 2-1 and takes over second place in Group E, while injury-plagued L. Rytas dropped to 1-2. Overtime was played almost an hour late because Fenerbahce thought it had already won on Will Solomon's tie-breaking jump shot on the fourth-quarter buzzer. But the referees ruled belatedly that Solomon's shot left his hands late, with no time left to play. After a Fenerbahce celebration, both teams were in their locker rooms when told to return to the court and warm up for overtime, during which the hosts dominated . Solomon had 5 of Fenerbahce's 16 points in overtime and led the winners with 27 total. Tarence Kinsey added 16, Omer Asic 13, Emir Preldzic and Omer Onan 10 each for the winners. Asic had 7 rebounds and 5 blocks, too. For L. Rytas, Kenan Bajramovic poured in 22 points, while Chuck Eidson had 20, Hollis Price 18 and Mindaugas Lukauskis 11. Both teams had traded baskets at full speed in an incredible first quarter. Eidson beat the buzzer with a wild triple for a 25-27 L. Rytas edge after 10 minutes. Solomon stepped up for Fenerbahce while Asik and a dominant Semih Erden allowed the hosts to get a 45-34 margin at the break. L. Rytas found go-to guys in the unstoppable Bajramovic and Price to mount a comeback that Eidson completed with a double-digit lead, 55-65, early in the fourth quarter. Fenerbahce rallied behind Solomon, who tied it 79-79 in the final minute of regulation time, and seemed to end it with the fourth-quarter buzzer, but had to make sure in overtime.
Barjamovic got L. Rytas going with a driving layup that Savas erased with a close jumper for a 2-2 tie. L. Rytas started by running its offense through Barjamovic without much success. Meanwhile, Onan fired in a triple from the right wing for a 5-2 Fenerbahce edge. Jackson Vroman shined with a left-handed layup that Price followed with a basket off the inbounds steal, but Solomon struck from downtown to restore a 8-6 Fenerbahce lead. Bajramovic made free throws, igniting a 0-8 L. Rytas run that Vroman highlighted with a fast break dunk and in which Mindaugas Lukauskis had a couple of driving layups to make Fenerbahce call timeout at 8-14. Gasper Vidmar stepped up with a power layup that Solomon followed with a fast break basket to bring the hosts within 12-14. Eidson took over with a wild dunk that Solomon erased with another driving basket that Onan followed with a fast break layup to tie the game, 16-16. Eidson sank a triple and even when Savas scored in the paint, Lukauskis hit a floating jumper for an 18-21 L. Rytas lead. Onan nailed an off-balanced three-pointer that Bajramovic erased at the other end. Onan scored again in penetration and Savas added a layup before Eidson beat the buzzer with a seven-meter bomb, good for a 25-27 L. Rytas edge at the end of a run-and-gun first quarter.
Kinsay took over with a driving basket right at the start of the second quarter and soon added a four-meter jumper to make Fenerbahce restore a 29-27 edge. Solomon stepped up with a mid-range jumper that Eidson matched with free throws, as L. Rytas kept trying full court pressure after foul shots made. Kinsay kept pacing Fener with another basket while Asik had started to intimidate the entire L. Rytas frontcourt in defense. L. Rytas called timeout at 34-29 to adjust its offense, trying to get Eidson more involved. Semih Erden provided a highlight with a wild fast break dunk and then had a big block on Barjamovic, as the guests struggled to score even from the foul line now. Meanwhile, Asik fed Erden for a layup-plus-foul that boosted the hosts' lead to double digits, 39-29, after a 14-2 run. Lukauskis tried to change things for L. Rytas with a five-meter jumper but Fenerbahce kept dominating the defensive board while Emir Preldzic made the guests call timeout at 42-31. Preldzic and Lukauskis traded free throws while Asik dunked it to set the crowd in fire, 45-32. Free throws by Vroman and Arturas Jomantas brought L. Rytas within 45-34 at halftime.
Bajramovic trued to ignit the guests' comeback with a free throw right after the break but Solomon added a stop-and-pop jumper for a 12-point Fener lead, 47-35. L. Rytas kept attacking the basket to go to the foul line often, as Vroman hit free throws while Price buried his first three-pointer to bring the guests back to life, 47-40. Fenerbahce could not find the way to the basket now, while Bajramovic scored over Erden and added free throws to make it a three-point game, 47-44, after a 0-9 run. Solomon sank a three-pointer but Eidson buried a mid-range shot and Bajramovic - who else? - added a layup in transition for a 50-48 L. Rytas deficit. Michailis Anisimovas tied the game with a tip-in while an unstoppable Barjamovic stroke from downtown to complete the guests' comeback, 51-53, after 27 minutes. Solomon scored in penetration but free throws by Eidson kept L. Rytas ahead, 53-55. Fenerbahce failed to get its big men involved now so coach Bogdan Tanjevic called a much-needed timeout. Even with that, Price sank a running jumper, Lukauskis added a four-meter shot while Eidson took over with an incredible three-point play before Price scored again for a 55-63 L. Rytas edge after 30 minutes.
Anisimovas scored again to give L. Rytas its first double-digit lead, 55-65, early in the fourth quarter. Kinsey stepped up with a corner three-pointer as Fener improved its defense. Meanwhile, Asik scored around the basket for a 60-65 deficit. Bajramovic shined with a driving basket that Kinsey erased with a close jumper while Solomon stroke to make L. Rytas call timeout at 65-67. Once again Bajramovic shined with a corner three-pointer while Solomon and Erden combined for 2-for-6 free throws for a 67-70 Fenerbahce deficit with 5 minutes to go. Anisimovas scored inside but Asik answered with an acrobatic layup. Solomon drew an offensive foul on Price that allowed Kinsey to score in the other end but an alleyoop layup by Anisimovas still gave L. Rytas a three-point lead, 71-74. A technical foul on Solomon helped Price to sink free throws bur Preldzic brought Fenerbahce back to life with a triple, 74-76. Price hit a triple that hit the rim, popped up and fell down but Damir Kaan answered with his own shot from downtown. Jomantas missed free throws while Solomon tied the game with 50 seconds remaining, 79-79. Bajramovic and Price missed from downtown while Solomon buried a six-meter shot that set Fenerbahce and all its fans celebrating. L. Rytas claimed that the shot came after the buzzer and instant replay confirmed it, so the players were called back on court from the locker rooms and overtime started more than half an hour after the end of the regulation.
The overtime started just as balanced as the final minutes, as Jomantas tied again, 83-83, with free throws. Kinsay hit a driving layup that Eidson matched on a second-chance basket at 85-85. Solomon made a free throw while Eidson missed from downtown. Preldzic made foul shots on Bajramovic's fifth foul for a 88-85 edge with 98 seconds remaining. Asik shined with a huge dunk over Vroman while Solomon added an acrobatic driving layup to seal the outcome, 92-85, with a minute to go. Anisimovas scored in the paint while Eidson added an outstaning driving layup to give L. Rytas some hope, 92-89, with 20 seconds remaining. Preldzic made 1-for-2 free throws but a huge block by Asik allowed all Fenerbahce fans that came back to Abdi Ipecki to celebrate a major win. Kaan made free throws to seal an incredible win in style, in one of the longest Euroleague games ever!
Thursday, February 28, 2008