2017-18Regular SeasonRound 25
March 09, 2018 CET: 19:00
Local time: 20:00 ZALGIRIO ARENA

Fenerbahce rallies in Kaunas to clinch playoffs spot

Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul became the third team to quality to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague playoffs by downing Zalgiris Kaunas 78-85 in front of over 15,200 fans at Zalgirio Arena on Friday. A 5-17 takeover run in the fourth quarter proved decisive as Fenerbahce improved to 18-7 in the standings and made sure to reach the playoffs on coaching legend Zeljko Obradovic's 58th birthday. Zalgiris dropped to 15-10 and is now tied on victories with Real Madrid for fourth place. Luigi Datome led the winners with 16 points. Kostas Sloukas added 15, Jan Vesely 13, Nikola Kalinic 12 and Jason Thompson 11 for Fenerbahce. Paulius Jankunas led Zalgiris with 15 points. Kevin Pangos added 14, Vasilije Micic 11 and Brandon Davies 10 for the hosts. Six different players scored in a 12-0 run which gave Zalgiris its first double-digit lead, 18-7. Datome and Brad Wanamaker helped Fenerbahce get closer, 24-17, after 10 minutes. A three-pointer by Micic boosted Zalgiris's lead to 32-20 midway through the second quarter but Kalinic and Vesely brought the guests within 40-31 at halftime. Nicolo Melli led a 0-7 run that brought Fenerbahce back to life and a dunk by Jason Thompson made it a one-point game, 53-52, late in the third quarter. Aaron White took over to singlehandedly give Zalgiris a 58-52 margin after 30 minutes. A dunk by Vesely completed Fenerbahce's comeback, 65-66, midway through the fourth quarter. Sloukas and Datome took over in crunch time, allowing Fenerbahce to seal the outcome.

Melli got Fenerbahce going with free throws while Davies followed a layup with a dunk for a 4-2 Zalgiris lead. Kalinic struck from downtown and Sloukas hit foul shots but six different players scored in a 12-0 run that Antanas Kavaliauskas capped with free throws to make it a double-digit game, 18-7. Datome hit a corner triple and Wanamaker followed Vesely's foul shots with a bomb from downtown to bring Fenerbahce within 20-15. Micic fed White for a dunk and added a jumper but a buzzer-beating layup by Marko Guduric fixed the score at 24-17 after 10 minutes. Vesely took over with a three-point play early in the second quarter before Arturas Milaknis and Micic each hit a triple in an 8-0 run that boosted Zalgiris's lead to 32-20. Kalinic tried to change things with a jumper and a layup, then Datome followed Vesely's dunk with a three-pointer, but White and an outstanding Micic restored a 40-29 Zalgiris lead. Free throws by Vesely kept the guests within 40-31 at halftime.

Melli had a dunk and a three-pointer in a 0-7 run that brought Fenerbahce within 41-38 soon after the break. Milaknis nailed a triple and Jankunas added a layup-plus-foul but Thompson and Guduric kept the guests within 49-46. Pangos hit a floater and Jankunas made foul shots but Wanamaker and Thompson made it a one-point game, 53-52. White stepped up to hit 3 of 4 free throws and detonate a big slam to give Zalgiris a 58-52 margin after 30 minutes. Pangos took over with a reverse layup early in the fourth quarter but Sloukas and Thompson combined for all points in a 0-8 run that tied the game, 60-60. Pangos followed a driving layup with a triple before James Nunnally found his first points while Kalinic hit a jumper and fed Vesely for a huge dunk that completed Fenerbahce's comeback, 65-66, with more than 4 minutes left. Sloukas hit free throws and added a three-pointer, then Kalinic also struck from downtown and Datome hit a jumper to seal the outcome, 71-79, with a minute left.

Both teams return to EuroLeague action next week as Zalgiris visits Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz on Thursday while Fenerbahce hosts CSKA Moscow on Friday in a rematch of the 2016 final.

Kostas Sloukas - Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul - EB17
Friday, March 9, 2018
Euroleague.net
Referees: LOTTERMOSER, ROBERT (GER), PEREZ PIZARRO, EMILIO (ESP), ROSSI, MICHELE (ITA)
Attendance: 15238
By Quarter1234
Zalgiris Kaunas24161820
Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul17142133
End of Quarter1234
Zalgiris Kaunas24405878
Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul17315285
Zalgiris Kaunas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 DAVIES, BRANDON 18:13 10 4/6   2/2 1   1     1 1   3 2 8
3 PANGOS, KEVIN 23:46 14 4/7 2/2 0/1   2 2 4   2     4 4 14
6 TOUPANE, AXEL 18:18 3   0/1 3/4   1 1   1 1 1     2 5
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS 22:54 15 4/7   7/7 1 4 5 1   1 1   3 8 23
19 SAJUS, MARTYNAS 0:11                              
20 MASIULIS, GYTIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 MILAKNIS, ARTURAS 26:29 6   2/3   1 4 5 1   1     4 2 8
22 MICIC, VASILIJE 28:05 11 4/9 1/3   1 2 3 5 2 3   1 3   7
30 WHITE, AARON 19:23 9 3/6 0/1 3/4   2 2     1   3 1 2 3
44 KAVALIAUSKAS, ANTANAS 10:17 2 0/1   2/2 1   1 2         4 1 1
66 VALINSKAS, PAULIUS 5:45 4 2/2                         4
92 ULANOVAS, EDGARAS 26:39 4 1/4   2/2   4 4 3   2     1 4 9
Team           2 1 3     1         2
Totals 200:00 78 22/42 5/10 19/22 7 20 27 16 3 13 3 4 23 25 84
        52.4% 50% 86.4%
Head coach: JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 THOMPSON, JASON 13:23 11 4/5   3/3             1   2 3 12
4 MELLI, NICOLO 21:39 7 1/4 1/2 2/2   5 5 3 1 1 1 1 4 1 8
10 MAHMUTOGLU, MELIH 2:10           1 1               1
11 WANAMAKER, BRAD 15:33 5 0/2 1/4 2/2 1   1 4   3     1 2 3
16 SLOUKAS, KOSTAS 32:11 15 1/3 2/4 7/7   2 2 5 1       2 4 21
21 NUNNALLY, JAMES 14:34 2 1/2       2 2           4   -1
23 GUDURIC, MARKO 18:04 4 2/4       2 2 4         3 2 7
24 VESELY, JAN 23:23 13 3/5   7/7 1 3 4 1   1   1 4 8 18
33 KALINIC, NIKOLA 26:17 12 3/3 2/3   1 1 2 6 2 1     2 1 19
35 MUHAMMED, ALI DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
44 DUVERIOGLU, AHMET 3:11               1   1     2   -2
70 DATOME, LUIGI 29:35 16 3/4 2/5 4/4   3 3 1     2 1 1 2 18
Team                     3         -3
Totals 200:00 85 18/32 8/18 25/25 3 19 22 25 4 10 4 3 25 23 101
        56.3% 44.4% 100%
Head coach: OBRADOVIC, ZELJKO

Head Coaches

JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS
Zalgiris Kaunas
"Congratulations to Fener. In the second half, for sure, they were the better team. More composed, more smart. The guys were fighting and we couldn't pull it out against one of the best teams in the EuroLeague."
OBRADOVIC, ZELJKO
Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul
"For me, this game was really a similar game to the one that we played in the first round on our court in Istanbul. Their team plays very good this year, very aggressive basketball, and this is what they did to us in the first half. They put a lot of pressure on us in the first half. If I remember well, we shot 5 for 13 on twos and 4 of 11 from three. With those very bad percentages, it was impossible to have a good result, and all during that time Zalgiris led easily. We talked about transferring their aggression, defensively and offensively, to find the best option, and I believe that in the second half we played much, much better. Of course, in the crucial moments we moved the ball good. We scored some, let's say, difficult shots. And small details, like always, decided the game. Even if the result is 7 points, it looks like something easy, but until the end Zalgiris had options to win the game. Congratulations to Zalgiris for everything they did until now, and today they played very good basketball. And of course, congratulations to my players. It was a very important victory for us. As we know, every victory in the EuroLeague is important, and we have five more games to see where we will be before the start of the playoffs.”

Players

PANGOS, KEVIN
Zalgiris Kaunas
"We didn't play good enough defense overall. The first half, we were getting stops and that was helping us to get momentum, get our fans in it, get our offense going. In the second half, we didn't do a very good job on that. All year, whenever we are playing good defense, it really helps us, so we have to continue that going forward. For some of the game – I don't think that for the entire game – we played very aggressive and tough. Against a good team like that, you have to play a full 40 minutes like that. You cannot relax at any point. Just because you had a good first half, it is not enough, you have to carry over."
DAVIES, BRANDON
Zalgiris Kaunas
"They are a good team. We have to give them a lot of credit. Against good teams, it takes more than one half. You have to play the whole game on attack. They fought back and we were right there with them, battled, made some mistakes and as good teams do, they found the way to battle back. The fight was there – it just takes a full-game effort to defeat a champion like that. I think we also showed a lot of good things, so we can learn from that and use it to get better. "
DATOME, LUIGI
Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul
"It as a very important win against a very tough team. They are playing a very good EuroLeague and it is very tough to play against them. They have a lot of physical players, a very well organized team, so we have to play very physical against them and to be very focused on offense to find the right choice. It was very tough but we stayed very focused through all 40 minutes. Some of our players made important plays in order to have these few points leading to win the game."