Fenerbahce stops Barcelona, stays first
Fenerbahce Istanbul got its sixth consecutive win by downing FC Barcelona Lassa 65-84 at Palau Blaugrana on Friday. Fenerbahce improved to 9-1 in the standings, tied for first place with CSKA Moscow, while Barcelona dropped to 6-4 with its first home loss. Ali Muhammed led the winners with 16 points. Marko Guduric added 13. Jan Vesely and Luigi Datome each had 11 for Fenerbahce while Nicolo Melli got 10 for Fenerbahce. Adam Hanga led Barcelona with 16 points and Kyle Kuric added 10.
A couple of early three-pointers by Muhammed allowed Fenerbahce to take a 6-8 lead. Erick Green downed back-to-back jumpers and Muhammed added a floater but Kevin Seraphin kept Barcelona within 10-14. Vesely and Nikola Kalinic scored around the basket and Datome added his trademark baseline jumper for a 13-20 Fenerbahce margin. Pierre Oriola followed a layup with free throws but Muhammed restored a 17-23 Fenerbahce lead after 10 minutes. Muhammed buried his third triple early in the second quarter and Datome added his first to make it a double-digit game, 19-29. Joffrey Lauvergne scored twice in the paint, getting help from Guduric and Datome to boost the guests' lead to 23-38. Hanga and Kuric stepped up for Barcelona, forcing Fenerbahce to call timeout at 29-39. An unstoppable Hanga sank a three-pointer that capped an 11-1 Barcelona run. Guduric answered from downtown and Vesely added a jumper to give Fenerbahce fresh air, 36-45, at halftime. Ante Tomic stepped up after the break, bringing Barcelona within 42-47. But Melli soon followed a corner triple with a couple of jumpers and Kalinic sank a three-pointer that boosted the guests' lead to 44-57. Kalinic scored again and a tip-in by Lauvergne broke the game open, 44-61. Muhammed matched Kuric's triple with a layup-plus-free throw for a 47-64 score after 30 minutes. Hanga and Pau Ribas gave Barcelona hope at 58-68 with 6 minutes left, but Lauvergne hit a jump hook before a layup by Guduric sealed the outcome, 58-72. Barcelona never gave up but Fenerbahce nonetheless cruised to a big road win.
Muhammed to the rescue
With Kostas Sloukas sidelined, it was time for Muhammed to step up big - and he did. He finished the game with season highs of 16 points, 5 rebounds and 17 PIR. Muhammed showed his best at the perfect time.
Barcelona got within 42-47 early in the second half, but Melli had the opening 7 points in a 2-14 run in which Kalinic had 5 others and Lauvergne added a tip-in that gave Fenerbahce a 44-61 lead, enough to control the game for good.
Barcelona scored 12-of-19 two-point shots in the first half (63.2%) but just 6-of- 18 (33.3%) after the break. Fenerbahce adjusted its defense in the paint and that made the difference.
Did you notice?
It took just 16 seconds for Egehan Arna to block a shot in his first EuroLeague appearance this season. Ergi Tirpanci, born on January 1, 2000, made his EuroLeague debut with Fenerbahce tonight.
Both teams hit the road in Round 11. Barcelona visits Buducnost VOLI Podgorica on Thursday, while Fenerbahce travels on Friday to the Greek capital to face Panathinaikos OPAP Athens, the team with whom Coach Zeljko Obradovic won five EuroLeague titles.
Friday, November 30, 2018