| A semifinalist from a year ago remains alone atop Group E after Bizkaia Bilbao rallied to beat host Turk Telekom 70-85 on the road in Ankara, Turkey on Tuesday. Bilbao is now 3-0 and close to advancing to the Last 16 again, while Turk Telekom dropped to 1-2 and third place in the group. Bilbao had fallen behind by as many as 12 points in the first half before a series of big runs slowly wrested control of the game from Turk Telekom. Marko Banic was the big gun inside all night for the winners as he scored 26 points while making 9 of 11 two-point shots and 8 of 8 free throws. The outside force was Janis Blums, who came off Bilbao's bench to make 5 of 8 three-pointers for 17 points. Chris Warren added 11 for Bilbao. Turk Telekom got 16 points from Serkan Erdogan and 12 from LaMayne Wilson, but ulitmately could not keep up with Bilbao's depth of scorers.
Erdogan and Demond Mallett shot Turk Telekom into a quick 6-0 lead. That difference held midway through the quarter, at 13-7, after Erdogan hit the game's first triple. The next, by LaMayne Wilson, put Turk Telekom up 18-9. Another shot from downtown, by center Huseyin Besok, gave the hosts their biggest lead, 26-14. Janis Blums answered for Bilbao and Salva Guardia added free throws to cut the difference to single digits again, 28-19, after 10 minutes. Robert Conley and Blums kept cutting the difference, to 28-23, early in the second quarter, but Turk Telekom kept blasting three-pointers, the latest by Tutku Acik. Erwin Dudley reclaimed a new double-digit lead, 35-35, before Bilbao started attacking inside to turn the scoreboard around. Alex Mumbru, Banic and Jerome Moiso went to the hoop for 7 consecutive points to soften the Turk Telekom defense before Chris Warren took advantage from the arc with a triple that gave Bilbao the lead, 36-35. But the visitors weren't done. Banic and Warren added baskets inside to complete a 0-14 run that meant a whole new ballgame. Turk Telekom called on Erdogan, however, and he delivered with a pair of triples to end the half, including the last shot on the buzzer, as the hosts held onto a 44-41 lead at the break.
The game of swings continued as Bekir Yarangume's free throws finished an 8-0 run with Turk Telekom leading 46-41. Blums used back-to-back triples now to blast Bilbao back into the game at 50-49. Turk Telekom resisted giving up the lead, as Yarangume responded from long range. But soon Moso was tying the score on the inside before Blums hit his third triple in as many minutes to put Bilbao ahead. Again, the visitors weren't done. A Banic three-point play the hard way ended a 0-10 run that propelled Bilbao to a 58-65 advantage after 30 minutes. Javi Salgado's triple and Banic free throws to start the fourth quarter seemed to spell Turk Telekom's demise, but Acik and Wilson hit from downtown on either side of an inside basket by Besok to keep the hosts as close as 66-72 with 5 minutes left. But Blums was not going to be denied. His fifth three-pointer sparked a new 0-8 blast by the guests and Bilbao cruised from there to a 3-0 start in Group E.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009