Laboral stops Fenerbahce to remain in playoff hunt
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria improved its chances to make it to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague playoffs from Top 16 Group F by downing Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul 93-76 at home on Thursday. Laboral improved to 6-7 and is fourth in Group F, but could drop to fifth place if Anadolu Efes Istanbul beats EA7 Emporio Armani Milan on Friday. Laboral stopped Fenerbahce's nine-game road winning streak, which had stretched back to late October. Fenerbahce dropped to 10-3. Mike James led the winners with 19 points. Fernando San Emeterio, Darus Adams and Fabien Causeur each scored 15 for Laboral. Nemanja Bjelica led Fenerbahce with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Jan Vesely added 13 points, while Bogdan Bogdanovic had 11 for the guests. A three-point play by Bjelica gave Fenerbahce an early 9-10 lead. Causeur struck twice from downtown in a 10-0 Laboral run that helped the hosts to a 21-14 edge after 10 minutes. San Emeterio followed a wild four-point play with a triple to boost the lead to 37-20 midway through the second quarter. Fenerbahce got within 42-29 at halftime and as close as 42-37 early in the second half, but Adams led another 10-0 run for a 61-47 advantage through three quarters. Laboral boosted its margin to 77-59 midway through the fourth quarter and never looked back.
First quarter: 10-0 run puts hosts ahead
Causeur got Laboral going with a floating layup which Bjelica matched with a backdoor layup. Adams scored in penetration, as Fenerbahce struggled to find the right game rhythm. Bogdanovic stepped up with a corner three-pointer, but a one-handed floater by San Emeterio put Laboral back ahead, 6-5. Causeur split free throws and another basket by San Emeterio boosted the hosts' lead to 9-5. Nikos Zisis found Semih Erden for a layup, which Bjelica followed with a three-point play that gave Fenerbahce its first lead, 9-10. Causeur kept pushing Laboral with back-to-back bombs from downtown, igniting a 10-0 run that Kim Tillie capped with a tip-in for a 19-10 advantage. Jan Vesely shined with an alley-oop layup, which Bjelica followed with a wild coast-to-coast layup that gave Fenerbahce some fresh air at 19-14. A jump hook by Mirza Begic restored a 21-14 Laboral margin after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: San Emeterio shines, Laboral takes off
Begic sank a baseline jumper early in the quarter, which Emir Preldzic erased with a driving layup. Tillie buried his trademark five-meter jumper and a three-point play by an unstoppable Begic made it a double-digit game, 28-16. Vesely and Zisis hit free throws, as Laboral entered the foul penalty early in the quarter. Laboral started to miss open shots, but a tip-in by Tillie gave the hosts a 30-20 advantage. San Emeterio took over with a wild, off-balance triple and the free throw that came with it and soon hit another one from beyond the arc to break the game open at 37-20. Bogdanovic answered from downtown and Andrew Goudelock hit a technical free throw. Bogdanovic split foul shots and a driving basket by Zisis brought the guests within 10. Colton Iverson ignited the crowd with a huge dunk in traffic before free throws by Oguz Savas and Mike James fixed the halftime score at 42-29.
Third quarter: Adams takes over for home team
Goudelock found Savas for a layup right after the break and a driving basket by Bogdanovic brought Fenerbahce within single figures at 42-33. Goudelock scored in transition and soon added a one-handed floater off a Laboral timeout to bring the guests back to life at 42-37. Adams struck from downtown and a fast break layup by Causeur restored a 10-point Laboral margin. Adams scored in transition and free throws by Iverson made it 51-37. Adams sank another triple to cap a 12-0 run. Bjelica struck from downtown and Bogdanovic swished a turnaround jumper, however a red-hot Adams hit another shot from beyond the arc. Erden hit free throws, which Adams matched with a fast break layup. Vesely scored down low and split free throws, but Tillie hit a turnaround jumper to keep Laboral way ahead, 61-47.
Fourth quarter: Laboral seals it early, celebrates
Toko Shengelia scored around the basket early in the quarter. Vesely answered with a layup and a free throw by Zisis gave Fenerbahce hope at 63-50. San Emeterio nailed his trademark stop-and-pop jumper, but Vesely quickly answered with back-to-back dunks. Shengelia sank foul shots and a floater by James made it a 15-point game with over six minutes left. Savas stepped up with a layup-plus-foul, but a free throw by Shengelia and a one-handed alley-oop dunk by Iverson seemed to seal the outcome at 72-57. Causeur and Goudelock exchanged free throws and a three-pointer by James allowed over 10,000 fans at Fernando Buesa Arena to start celebrating at 77-59. Fenerbahce never gave up and kept fighting, but Laboral cruised to a critical and impressive home win.
Thursday, April 2, 2015