Fenerbahce still perfect in Top 16 after bouncing Cedevita
Fenerbahce Istanbul kept its perfect Top 16 record intact by holding off Cedevita Zagreb for an 86-73 victory at Ulker Sports Arena on Thursday. Luigi Datome scored 19 points and Ekpe Udoh posted 17 points and 4 blocks to pace the home team, which took charge early with an 18-0 first-quarter run. It was 40-33 at halftime before Cedevita rallied to within 1 in the third quarter. But Fenerbahce pulled away in the fourth, rebuilding a double-digit lead on back to back triples by Ricky Hickman and Kostas Sloukas and held on to improve to 5-0 in Group E. The result also dropped Cedevita to 2-3. Jan Vesely added 12 points and 6 rebounds, Hickman finished with 11 points and 6 assists and Sloukas also scored 11. James White and Miro Bilan finished with 13 points apiece for Cedevita, Jacob Pullen scored 12 and Henry Walker 11.
First quarter: Udoh, Hickman lead 18-0 Fenerbahce run
Luke Babic opened the scoring with a three from the corner before Udoh scored twice – the second with a bonus free throw – for a 5-3 edge. Nemanja Gordic tied it with a pair of free throws. After Sloukas hit a second-chance jumper, Bilan spotted White open for a three in the corner and a 7-8 Cedevita lead. Udoh countered with a hook shot and Hickman split free throws. Pero antic buried a three from the corner and Udoh rejected Bilan for a second time. Hickman fed Udoh for another slam and Antic drilled a three before the visitors called a timeout down 18-8. Then Datome hit a jumper and Udoh rejected his fourth shot to deny Cedevita again. Vesely came in for Udoh and immediately assisted Hickman on a triple. Hickman added a fast break layup to cap an 18-0 Fenerbahce run. Henry Walker’s drive and dish to Bilan ended a nearly five-minute long Cedevita drought. Udoh came back and scored to reach 11 points. Babic made it 27-12 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Cedevita fights back
Bilan scored to open the quarter before Vesely got on the scoreboard with free throws. After Fran Pilepic buried a long jumper, Vesely rocked the rim with a vicious slam. Walker split free throws as Udoh took a seat with 3 fouls. A Pilepic triple made it 31-20 and prompted a Fenerbahce timeout. Jacob Pullen heated up with a pretty layup and a jumper to bring his team within 7, but Bogdan Bodanovic followed his own missed jumper in and Bobby Dixon followed with a three-pointer. Bilan tipped in his own miss, but Bogdanovic countered with a second-chance bucket at the other end. The two teams went cold and combined for six straight missed shots before Marko Arapovic’s three made it 38-29. Babic fed Zganec for a layup before Antic dunked. White drove for a layup that made it 40-33 at the break.
Third quarter: Bilan, Walker bring Cedevita to within 1
Bogdanovic spotted Vesely for a layup, but White silenced the crowd with a coast-to-coast jam. Vesely scored again and Bogdanovic split free throws to restore a double-digit advantage. Pullen drained a three and Babic banked in a shot in transition to bring Cedevita within 45-40. Pullen banked in a triple to make it a 2-point game. Sloukas responded with a layup-and-foul before Datome drilled a triple to give Fenerbahce some breathing room. White drove from the left wing for a layup that made it 50-45 midway through the quarter. Pilepic sank his second three after which Datome and White traded free throws. Hickman shook off a defender for a layup. White fed Bilan for a slam, but Datome rose for a dunk at the other end. Walker drilled a turn-around jumper, but Datome countered with a jumper. After Bilan finished a pick-and-roll with a basket-plus-foul, Sloukas converted a tough layup. Walker sank a triple to make it a 1-point game. Udoh hit a baseline jumper and Gordic responded quickly with a layup to make it 62-61.
Fourth quarter: Datome helps Fenerbahce pull away for victory
Datome opened the quarter with a three-pointer. Walker hit a long jumper with his foot on the three-point line. Udoh scored twice – a slam from a Datome bounce pass and a layup after a Hickman steal – but Pullen kept the visitors close with a layup. However back-to-back threes by Hickman and Sloukas – the second of which came after a true shooter’s roll – put Fenerbahce up 10. Bilan battled through a triple team for a three-point play. Antic limped off with the help of trainers, while White sank free throws. Datome made an important three-pointer for a 78-70 advantage. After Bilan missed free throws, Vesely split a pair. Walker gave the visitors hope with a three-pointer, but Sloukas responded with a jumper. The Greek guard hopped off in pain seconds later. Time was running out for Cedevita and Vesely wrapped up the victory with an offensive rebound slam to keep the hosts undefeated in the Top 16.
Thursday, January 28, 2016