Dominant Udoh, Fenerbahce topple Madrid to reach title game
Fenerbahce Istanbul led from start to finish in defeating Real Madrid 84-75 on Friday night at Sinan Erdem Dome in Istanbul and clinching a spot in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Championship Game for the second straight season. Ekpe Udoh starred with 18 points, 12 rebounds, a career-high 8 assists and 2 blocks to pace the winners. After starting strong and racing out to a double-digit advantage, Fenerbahce remained in control spare a 0-11 Madrid run in the second quarter. Bogdan Bogdanovic contributed 14 points in the winning effort and Jan Vesely and Nikola Kalinic netted 12 points apiece. Kalinic added 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals. For Madrid, Sergio Llull stood out with 28 points and Jaycee Carroll scored 21. Fenerbahce got better shots and made more of them in what was ultimately the difference. While Fenerbahce shot 22 for 37 (59.4%) on two-point attempts, Madrid was 13 for 31 (41.9%) from the same distance. Fenerbahce will try to become the first-ever Turkish team to win the competition when they face Olympiacos Piraeus for the crown. If it wins, Fenerbahce would become the seventh different squad to lift the trophy in the last eight years and coaching legend Zeljko Obradovic would claim his record ninth EuroLeague title with six different teams.
First quarter: Fenerbahce excels at both ends
Bogdanovic got Fenerbahce going with a stop-and-pop jumper, which Gustavo Ayon matched with a close basket. Vesely ignited Fenerbahce fans with a two-handed slam that Kalinic followed with a three-pointer for a 7-2 lead. Vesely took off for yet another slam, but a rainbow jumper by Llull brought Madrd within 9-4. Bobby Dixon joined Llull in the three-point shootout and a layup by Vesely kept Fenerbahce way ahead, 14-7. Dixon insisted from beyond the arc to make it a double-digit game. Llull hit free throws – his 2,499th and 2,500th points in the competition, but Ekpe Udoh erased those with a reverse dunk. Madrid tried a more physical frontline with Anthony Randolph and Othello Hunter together on court, and it started to get more defensive stops. Llull kept pushing his team with a mid-range jumper, but Kostas Sloukas quickly answered with a driving layup. A jumper by Llull brought Madrid within 21-13 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Madrid rallies, Fener builds new lead
Luigi Datome hit free throws early in the quarter, as Fenerbahce stayed all over the passing lines. Madrid was held scoreless for more than four minutes and when a wide open three-pointer by Kalinic forced head coach Pablo Laso to call timeout at 26-13. Trey Thompkins stepped up with free throws, igniting a 0-11 run in which he, Llull and Randolph each hit triples to bring Madrid within 26-24. Vesely finished a four-chance Fenerbahce offense with a tip-in and Bogdanovic added a three to boost Fenerbahce's lead to 31-25. An unstoppable Llull scored in transition, but free throws by Dixon and a dunk by Vesely made it 35-27. Randolph left the game due to injury. Carroll followed free throws with a three-pointer, but Kalinic sank foul shots and Bogdanovic hit from downtown to restore a double-digit lead, 42-32. Free throws by Llull and a jump hook by Udoh fixed the halftime score at 44-34.
Third quarter: Fenerbahce retains control
Llull split free throws and a recovered Randolph swished a mid-range jumper to give Madrid hope, 44-37, soon after the break. Udoh rescued Fenerbahce with a close basket and Kalinic added an acrobatic layup that restored a double-digit lead. Sloukas buried a stop-and-pop jumper from the top of the key, as Madrid kept struggling to find good shots. Sloukas scored again, but Carroll did better with two of his trademark catch-and-shoot three-pointers, bringing Madrid within 52-43. Vesely made free throws and a layup by Udoh kept Fenerbahce out of trouble. Carroll fired in another one from beyond the arc and a driving layup by Llull brought Madrid within 56-48. Udoh stayed hot with a mid-range jumper, which James Nunnally followed with a fast break layup. Another jumper by Udoh made it a 14-point game. Free throws by Sloukas and Llull fixed the score at 63-50 after 30 minutes.
Fourth quarter: Valiant Madrid runs out of steam, time
Sloukas and Hunter traded driving baskets early in the quarter and a three-pointer by Datome seemed to break the game open, 68-52, with over eight minutes remaining. Carroll hit a one-handed jumper in the lane and Jeffery Taylor added a corner triple to bring Madrid closer, 68-57. Thompkins sank one from downtown in transition that caused Fenerbahce to call timeout at 68-60 after a 0-8 run. Udoh and Hunter exchanged free throws and a jumper by an unstoppable Udoh made it 72-62 with 4 minutes to go. Hunter took over with a high-flying tip-in that Datome did better with a layup-plus-foul for a 75-64 score. The outcome seemed obvious until Carroll hit a three and Llull a three-point play to narrow the gap to 77-70 inside the final minute. Madrid continued to fight and even got within 6, but the outcome was not seriously threatened as Fenerbahce held on for victory.
Friday, May 19, 2017