Second half carries ALBA past Fenerbahce for first win
ALBA Berlin used a dominant second-half performance to beat Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 84-70 for its first victory of the young season. After scoring 27 points in the first half, the German champs poured in 30 points in the third quarter and 27 more in the final frame to give Israel Gonzalez his first win as ALBA head coach. Oscar da Silva collected 22 points and 5 rebounds in just his second EuroLeague game to lead ALBA while Maodo Lo scored 21 points with 5 assists and Luke Sikma tallied 13 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals as ALBA moved to 1-2. That is the same record as Fenerbahce, for which Nando de Colo collected 15 points and 8 assists while Ahmet Duverioglu scored 12 points and Jan Vesely chipped in 6 points and 11 rebounds.
Dyshawn Pierre opened the scoring for the guests from long range and Devin Booker added a follow dunk for the first 5 points. Yovel Zoosman got ALBA’s first points and the hosts used the long ball to neutralize its lack of size with da Silva, Zoosman, Louis Olinde and Tim Schneider all hitting three-pointers to put ALBA up 18-15. Fenerbahce, however, finished with the final 4 points and was up 18-19 after 10 minutes.
Duverioglu kept the Fenerbache run going with the first 4 points of the second quarter for an 18-23 gap. ALBA temporarily knotted it at 23-23 on Sikma’s triple, but Fenerbahce responded with strength in the paint in a 2-12 run with dunks by Jan Vesely and Booker and two inside scores from Pierre for a 25-35 advantage. The score was 27-35 at the intermission.
ALBA picked up its defense to start the second half, forcing 4 Fenerbahce turnovers while Zoosman started the third quarter with a dunk and Lo drained a three-pointer in an 11-0 run to pull ahead 38-35. De Colo finally got Fenerbahce on the board after more than 3 minutes. Sikma added 4 points at the other end and the hosts’ lead was up to 42-37. De Colo responded with a three-pointer, but ALBA kept pushing and da Silva made it 48-42. Duverioglu sparked an answer with two scores and an assist to even things at 53-53. Sikma finished the third quarter with a massive alley-oop dunk to put ALBA up 57-53.
Melih Mahmutoglu opened the final frame to get Fenerbahce within two points only to see Jaleen Smith and Lo both hit three-pointers and da Silva convert a three-point play to extend the margin to 69-58. Vesely scored and Pierria Henry hit a three-pointer to get the deficit to 72-63. Da Silva and Lo would not let the hosts lose another game with 4 points each to push the cushion to 80-65 in the closing moments.
Pivotal performer: Lo takes charge for ALBA
After tying his career-high in scoring in Round 2 with 22 points, ALBA Berlin guard Maodo Lo was held scoreless in the first half against Fenerbahce. But he came out of the locker room more aggressive and led the ALBA attack to start the second half. The guard finished the game with 21 points including 4 three-pointers while also picking up 2 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals for an index rating of 27. Just as important as his offense in the second half was Lo’s continued strong defense in frustrating Fenerbahce.
Vesely climbs to No. 13 all-time in scoring
One of the bright spots for Fenerbahce was center Jan Vesely jumping up to 13th place on the EuroLeague all-time scoring list. The Czech big man collected 6 points to go along with 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Vesely increased his career point total to 2,740 in 257 games for Partizan NIS Belgrade and Fenerbahce, moving him past Marcus Brown, who had collected 2,739 points in 179 games for Benetton Treviso, Anadolu Efes Istanbul, CSKA Moscow, Unicaja Malaga, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Zalgiris Kaunas. No. 12 in the rankings is Alexey Shved, who is at 2,769 points after scoring 8 earlier Tuesday in CSKA Moscow’s victory over Zenit St Petersburg.
Telling numbers: ALBA holds it own on the glass
ALBA was missing its entire grouping of centers as the big men are all still out injured. But still, the German champion was able to hold its own in the paint - losing the rebound battle “only” 34-31. That was thanks in large part to Luke Sikma and Oscar da Silva coming through with a combined 14 rebounds. The main difference though in the game was ALBA’s taking advantage of turnovers, coming up with 25 points off of Fenerbahce’s 17 turnovers compared to Fenerbahce’s 11 points on 8 ALBA turnovers. ALBA also shot 56.8% on two-pointers compared to 48.6% for the guests.
Tuesday, October 12, 2021