Fener edges past ALBA in overtime thriller
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul made it three wins in a row with a thrilling 107-102 overtime win against battling ALBA Berlin. Stellar shooting from long range propelled Fenerbahce into a big early lead, but the Turkish team scored just 4 points in the first 8 minutes of the second quarter as ALBA roared back to move ahead. The second half was very closely contested, with neither team establishing a dominant lead and Luka Sikma scoring to force overtime with 4.5 seconds remaining. Ahmet Duverioglu shone in the extra period, netting 6 points in just over a minute to give Fener the win. Kostas Sloukas led his team with a double-double of 23 points and 10 assists, and Nando De Colo scored 18 points on his return from injury. Melih Mahmutoglu scored 17 points on 5-of-9 three-point shooting, while Joffrey Lauvergne netted 15 points and Derrick Williams 14. Rokas Giedraitis top scored for ALBA with 19 points on 5-of-7 three-pointers, and Sikma contributed 18 points and 8 assists. Martin Hermansson (12), Niels Giffey (12), Peyton Siva (10) and Marcus Eriksson (10) all scored in double figures for the visitors. Fenerbahce improves to 5-7, while ALBA is now 4-8.
Sikma started the scoring inside, but Mahmutoglu and Luigi Datome answered from long-range. Lauvergne scored twice inside and Williams did likewise from the outside for an 18-6 lead. Datome and Mahmutoglu were again good from downtown, as was Giffey for ALBA. Sloukas found Lauvergne and De Colo for open shots as Fener continued to motor, ending the first quarter 30-16. Siva and Eriksson started the second quarter scoring, before a big dunk from Duverioglu reignited the host. Sweet ball movement from ALBA gave Kresimir Nikic an easy finish and Giffey converted another triple for a 0-7 run. Williams dunked in a rare offensive spark from Fener, but Giedraitis and Eriksson both scored from deep in a 0-8 run to make it 34-35. Another Mahmutoglu triple helped Fener respond, and it was 41-40 at half-time.
Siva, Giedraitis and Sikma all penetrated to score early in the second half, and Giedraitis struck another pair of three-pointers to make it 44-52. Mahmutoglu’s fourth triple and fastbreak layup gave the host fresh hope, and a long two from Sloukas followed by Datome and De Colo free throws restored Fener’s lead on a 13-2 run. Jonas Mattiseck scored twice from deep, but Vladimir Stimac finished the third quarter with a three-point play, making it 65-62. De Colo and Eriksson netted triples early in the fourth, and three-point plays from Sloukas and Hermansson kept it close at 71-72. Great ball movement allowed Hermansson to make a three-pointer for a 71-75 lead, completing a 0-8 run. But Lauvergne scored twice to spark Fener, and Sloukas’s long two made it 78-79 with 150 seconds remaining and free throws kept it close until Sloukas penetrated to score for 84-83, before Williams produced a huge play by blocking Giffey to race downcourt and slam. Free throws from Hermansson and Sloukas made it 88-85, and after Giffey split free throws Sikma converted an offensive board to make it 88-88 with 4.5 seconds remaining. Fener’s last chance to win came to nothing as Williams missed from long-range on the buzzer.
Datome and Hermansson fouled out at the start of overtime, following Siva to five fouls. Giedraitis, Nnoko, Sloukas and De Colo were all perfect from the foul line, before De Colo penetrated to score the first field goal of the extra period. Makai Mason responded for ALBA for 94-94, before Williams dunked and Mason netted a jumper. Mahmutoglu struck from long range, and Duverioglu’s free throws made it 101-96 after an unsportsmanlike foul on Sikma with 100 seconds remaining. Giffey’s triple made it a one-possession game, but Duverioglu twice dunked for a 105-99 lead. Giedraitis made another three-pointer to make it 105-102 with 15 seconds remaining, but Sloukas was ice-cool from the foul line and Fener held on.
De Colo and Westermann return
After a four-game absence, Nando De Colo made a return to action for Fenerbahce. The French star came off the bench towards the end of the first quarter and signalled his return by immediately making a mid-range jumper. He ended up playing 22 minutes, playing a big role in the win by scoring 18 points including 6 of 6 free throws. Leo Westermann also made his first appearance since Round 8, appearing for 4 minutes in the first half.
Hot shooting from long-range
Fenerbahce moved into a double-digit lead by the midway stage of the first quarter thanks to perfect long-range shooting: Melih Mahmutoglu and Luigi Datome struck first, before Derrick Williams fired two more in the space of 22 seconds. Further strikes from Datome and Mahmutoglu meant that Fener was a perfect 6-of-6 from long-range at the end of the first quarter. The home team ended up with 11-of-26 three-pointers on the night, but was outperformed by ALBA which made 14-of-29.
Free throws prove pivotal
With 59 combined attempts, there were more free throws in this game than any other so far this season. And the difference in conversion rates made a big difference to the outcome, with Fener making 28-of-31 trips to the foul line including a perfect 13 of 13 from Kostas Sloukas. ALBA did not fare quite so well from its free throws, making 22 of 28 attempts.
Fenerbahce faces an electric local derby in Round 13 with a home meeting against high-flying Anadolu Efes Istanbul. ALBA stays on the road, travelling to take on Khimki Moscow Region.
Friday, December 6, 2019