Bjelica leads Fenerbahce to sixth straight win
Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul registered its sixth consecutive win in Top 16 Group F by downing Nizhny Novgorod 92-79 at home on Thursday. Fenerbahce improved to 7-2 and came closer to clinching a playoffs spot while Nizhny dropped to 2-7. Nemanja Bjelica led the winners with 16 points. Ricky Hickman and Jan Vesely each added 13 while Andrew Goudelock had 10 for Fenerbahce. Trey Thompkins led Nizhny with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Taylor Rochestie and Rihards Kuksiks scored 13 apiece and Gal Mekel had 12 in his debut for Nizhny, which was without Tarence Kinsey and Art Parakhousi. Nizhny led 8-13 midway through the first quarter and free throws by Rochestie gave the guests their last lead, 16-17. It didn't last long, as Bjelica, Hickman and Bogdan Bogdanovic fueled a 26-3 run that Emir Preldzic capped with a fast break layup to break the game open, 42-20. Nizhny got within 50-34 at halftime and even closer, 50-41, right after the break. An outstanding Thompkins brought the guests as close as 60-55 late in the third quarter, but Vesely and Bjelica led a 13-2 run, which restored a 73-57 Fenerbahce lead. Nizhny never gave up, but Fenerbahce managed to keep a safe lead from that moment until the final buzzer.
First quarter: Bjelica puts hosts ahead
Oguz Savas got Fenerbahce going with free throws, which Rochestie erased with a running shot. Semen Antonov hit a baseline jumper, but Savas finished a three-chance offense with a big basket in the low post to make it 4-4. Thompkins scored twice around the basket, as the hosts kept committing turnovers. Bjelica stepped up with a driving layup, which Antonov erased with a put-back basket. After Nikos Zisis hit a six-meter jumper, a three-pointer by Rochestie boosted Nizhny's lead to 8-13. Emir Preldzic hit a big triple off the dribble and Bjelica copied him right after that to put Fenerbahce back ahead, 14-13. A dunk by Bjelica caused Nizhny to call timeout at 16-13 – after an 8-0 run. Thompkins hit a mid-range jumper and free throws by Rochestie gave the guests a 16-17 edge. Bjelica restored an 18-17 Fenerbahce lead after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: 26-3 run breaks game open
Luka Zoric sank foul shots early in the quarter and a three-pointer by Hickman boosted the hosts' lead to 23-17. Goudelock hit free throws and a wild catch-and-shoot triple by Bogdan Bogdanovic made it a double-digit game as Nizhny called timeout. Rihards Kuksiks answered from downtown, but back-to-back three-pointers by Hickman broke the game open. Vesely scored around the basket and a tip-in by Semih Erden ignited the crowd at 38-20. Vesely hit a close jumper and a fast break layup by Preldzic gave the hosts a 22-point lead after a mammoth 26-3 charge. Thompkins tried to change things with free throws and a layup by Meksim Krivosheev caused the hosts to call timeout at 42-24. Dimitry Khvostov sank foul shots and a layup by Gal Mekel gave Nizhny hope at 42-28. Vesely dunked and Goudelock shined with a couple of big baskets, but Mekel and Rochestie kept Nizhny within 50-34 at halftime.
Third quarter: Thompkins rescues Nizhny
Kuksiks hit his second three-pointer immediately after the break and banked in a running shot to bring the guests within 50-39. Mekel took over with a wild driving layup, which Bogdanovic copied at the other end. Goudelock beat the shot clock with a huge step-back jumper and a driving layup by Hickman caused Nizhny to call timeout at 56-41. Mekel hit a one-handed floater in the lane and Rochestie nailed his trademark six-meter jumper in transition to keep Nizhny within 56-45. Goudelock scored again and Vesely added a hook shot, but Thompkins followed a tip-in with a three-pointer in transition to keep Nizhny in the picture. Thompkins kept pushing the guests with an alley-oop layup and a catch-and-shoot triple off an inbounds pass which made it a 5-point game. Free throws by Bogdanovic fixed the score at 62-55.
Fourth quarter: Fenerbahce bounces back to win
Vesely split free throws early in the quarter and a dunk by Bjelica restored a double-digit Fenerbahce lead, 65-55. Vesely scored around the basket and Zisis matched Rochestie's off-balance basket with a mid-range jumper for a 69-57 Fenerbahce edge. A big, high-flying block by Vesely allowed Bjelica to dunk at the other end and a one-handed floater by Zisis made it a 16-point game with seven minutes left. After Kuksiks nailed a corner triple, Bjelica dunked again. A slam by Thompkins kept Nizhny within 75-62. Antonov and Melih Mehmutoglou exchanged three-pointers. Thompkins scored again, but a free throw by Bjelica gave his team a 79-67 edge. Mekel shined with an acrobatic layup, but three-pointers by Preldzic and Serhat Cetin sealed the outcome at 85-69. Nothing changed from that moment as even though Nizhny kept fighting, it was too late for the guests.
Thursday, March 5, 2015