| It was an easy night for Regal FC Barcelona, who thrashed visiting Fenerbahce Ulker by 89-55 in Group A. This result, combined with Cibona's loss at Siena makes Barcelona the first team to punch a ticket for the Top 16, as it improves to 6-0 in the standings. Meanwhile, Fenerbahce Ulker drops to 3-3 for sole possession of third place. Thanks to superb second and third quarters commanded by Fran Vazquez and Juan Carlos Navarro, Barca pulled away fast to leads over the 30 points that made Fenerbahce surrender too early. Jaka Lakovic and Vazquez led the winners with 14 points each, Pete Mickeal had 12 and Navarro and Erazem Lorbek posted 11 apiece. For the guests, Lynn Greer had 13 points.
The Sportingbet MVP for November, Pete Mickeal, opened the game in style as he buried four points for a starting 8-2 Regal FC Barcelona lead. Fenerbahce Ulker struggled in offense and it wasn't until minute 7:30 that Lynn Greer scored again for the guests, making it a 2 of 9 from the field at that point. Erazem Lorbek replied with authority with his dunk, as Barca managed to move the ball in offense and the guests could only stop it with fouls in the paint. Greer and N'Dong traded free throws, but a final turnover by Fenerbahce allowed Jaka Lakovic to cross the court for a layup on the buzzer that made it 15-6 after 10 minutes.
Fenerbahce Ulker started the second quarter in a better way with Emir Preldzic's basket and a good defense, but Lakovic stopped the situation for Barcelona, 17-8. Tarence Kinsey blasted the game's first triple but Mickeal scored from the line for a 22-11 Barcelona edge. The hosts were not allowing open shots to the guests at any cost, but Lakovic and Rasim Basak traded threes. However, the percentage from the arc of Fenerbahce allowed Barca to pull the defensive boards and run in offense. Terence Morris and Omer Asik traded monster blocks to bring the crowd to its feet. It was time to trade again, but this time it was threes between Morris and Greer as the game started to pick a much faster pace than in the first quarter. Serhat Cetin cut the deficit down to 11 points again, 32-21. But it went up again fast when Ricky Rubio fed Fran Vazquez for an impossible alley-oop that brought the house down, 36-21. Juan Carlos Navarro finally scored his first points with a three for 39-21 that was putting Fenerbahce in a dangerous spot, at the same time as Omer Onan had to walk to the bench due to a fortuitous ankle injury. Lakovic still had some time left to squeeze in a last basket-plus-foul play for a 42-21 halftime score that capped a 10-0 run.
Navarro was the first scorer of the second half now, and Vazquez joined in to destroy the rim with a dunk that made it a 25-point game, 46-21. Gordan Giricek finally scored for Fenerbahce but Vazquez slammed again twice fast to keep a safe distance, 50-23. Damir Mrsic came to the rescue but as most people expected, Navarro hit a new three, becoming his 300th in Euroleague history, to make the lead even bigger. Boni N'Dong hit free throws to make it a 30-point game as the party went on in the stands. Mrsic and Asik scored for the guests after a long drought but Navarro and Mickeal punished that with threes that made it 65-31. Asik closed the quarter on a positive note for Fenerbahce with a three-point play, 67-36 after 30 minutes.
Greer started the last period with a basket making it a 0-5, but N'Dong tipped in Roger Grimau's miss to put the difference above the 30 points again, and then Victor Sada has a bank three that was replied by Giricek's triple, 72-45. Asik was really active now as Fenerbahce seemed to pick up the rhythm a little more, but it was too late because Barcelona never relaxed with Jordi Trias going for every offensive rebound and when youngster Xavi Rabaseda slammed the ball in Fenerbahce's rim for his first Euroleague points ever, the arena exploded in joy. It was clear that Barca would take this win and become the first team in 2009 to punch a ticket for the Top 16.
Thursday, December 3, 2009