Sloukas lifts Fenerbahce in Piraeus
In a big battle that literally came down to the final second, Fenerbahce Istanbul edged Olympiacos Piraeus 72-73 on the road on Thursday. Fenerbahce improved to 6-1, while Olympiacos dropped to 3-4. Kostas Sloukas led the winners with 20 points on 7-of-7 free throw shooting against his former team. Nikola Kalinic added 16 point and Melih Mahmutoglu had 12 for Fenerbahce. Kostas Papanikolaou led Olympiacos with 18 points, Nigel Williams-Goss scored 13 and Georgios Printezis posted 10 points and 10 rebounds for the hosts.
Kalinic and Sloukas shined early to give Fenerbahce a 6-8 lead. Both players kept pushing Fenerbahce but Georgios Bogris and Printezis kept Olympiacos within 18-19. Free throws by Luigi Datome fixed the score at 18-21 after 10 minutes. Three-pointers by Vassilis Spanoulis and Zach LeDay put Olympiacos in charge, 24-23, early in the second quarter. Joffrey Lauvergne and Kalinic briefly gave Fenerbahce the lead, 25-27, but Axel Toupane and Nikola Milutinov fueled a 10-0 run that restored a 35-27 Olympiacos advantage. Mahmutoglou struck twice from downtown and a jumper by Sloukas tied it at 35-35. Sloukas added 4 free throws to cap a 0-12 run, but a floater by Williams-Goss and free throws by Printezis tied the game, 39-39, at halftime. Papanikaolou took over after the break to give Olympiacos a 47-43 lead. Ali Muhammed tried to change things for the visitors, getting help from Melli and Lauvergne to keep Fenerbahce within 53-50 after 30 minutes. Three-pointers by Datome and Melli put Fenerbahce back in charge, 55-58, with more than seven minutes left and an alley-oop slam by Milutinov turned the game into a thriller at 60-60. Mahmutoglu struck again from downtown and Kalinic scored twice in the paint for a 64-67 Fenerbahce edge. Williams-Goss hit a triple and a dunk by Milutinov caused Olympiacos to regain the lead at 69-67 in the next-to-last minute. Sloukas hit 3 free throws and buried a clutch three-pointer that seemed to seal the outcome, 69-73, with 1:07 left. Papanikolaou answered from downtown and Kalinic missed at the other end, but Williams-Goss and Milutinov both missed in the game's final seconds.
Kalinic had a really strong game, using his versatility and high basketball IQ to dominate. He had 16 points, tying his season-high in scoring, and added 4 rebounds and 4 fouls drawn for a performance index rating of 15.
With the game on the line, Sloukas drew a foul while shooting from downtown, hit all 3 free throw attempts and then buried a stop-and-pop three-pointer that allowed Fenerbahce to escape with a road win.
Fenerbahce hit 14 of 15 free throws (93.3%); that is the fourth-best mark in the EuroLeague this season and just the seventh time that Fenerbahce has shot 93% or better in the competition.
Did you notice?
Olympiacos had a much higher team index rating in this game than Fenerbahce, 87 to 73. Despite the PIR difference, Fenerbahce got a prestigious road win.
Both teams return to EuroLeague action on Tuesday, November 20; Fenerbahce hosts cross-town rivals Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul and Olympiacos travels to Germany to face FC Bayern Munich.
Thursday, November 15, 2018