Fenerbahce prevails over Baskonia in thriller
In a hard-fought battle that went down to the wire, Fenerbahce Istanbul pulled out a 72-74 road win at KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz on Friday night. The win improved Fenerbahce to 5-1 in third place in the standings, while Baskonia dropped to 2-4, suffering its second home defeat of this campaign. Luigi Datome finished with 16 points to lead Fenerbahce, and Joffrey Lauvergne scored 15 in victory. Ilimane Diop posted 17 points and 6 rebounds to pace the hosts. Tornike Shengelia had 15 points and 4 steals, and Patricio Garino added 10 points in a losing effort.
Nicolo Melli and Ali Muhammed each hit early triples, and Lauvergne had a three-point play to help open a 6-13 lead. However, Luca Vildoza had a triple and fed Diop for an alley-oop dunk. Diop had 8 first-quarter points, and Vildoza hit a half-court buzzer-beater to make it 20-18 after 10 minutes. Baskonia did not allow a basket for 3:30 to start the second quarter, and Diop had a three-point play but Baskonia could not pull away further than 26-21. Fenerbahce found its offense against Baskonia’s zone defense, and a triple from Kostas Sloukas put the visitors back in front, 28-29. The teams went into the break tied at 33-33, and continued exchanging blows in the third quarter. Matt Janning and Sloukas traded three-pointers, and Baskonia retained a slim lead by making 7 of 7 free throws. But Lauvergne and Melih Mahmutoglu hit from downtown for the visitors, to tie it at 45-45. Garino knocked down a corner three to put the hosts back ahead, before fastbreak layups from Garino and Hilliard opened 55-48 margin going into the fourth quarter. However, Datome’s triple helped Fenerbahce get within 56-53. Nikola Kalinic added a corner triple to cut it to 59-58, and he made an improbable shot that beat the buzzer and helped tie it again, 63-63. The visitors went in front 67-69 on Datome’s turnaround jumper inside the last 2 minutes, but Baskonia regained the lead, 70-69, on a tough tip-in by Shengelia. But Fenerbahce made 5 of 6 free throws in the final 36 seconds, while Janning, Shengelia and Diop missed long-range shots for the hosts, as Fenerbahce prevailed.
Neither team held a lead bigger than 7 points the entire night. Fenerbahce had a 6-13 margin in the first quarter, and Baskonia was up 55-48 at the end of the third.
Baskonia finished the night with 18 turnovers, to Fenerbahce’s 16. However, the visitors took care of the ball in the fourth quarter when they did not commit a single turnover, while Baskonia turned the ball over 5 times in the final 10 minutes.
Surviving Foul Trouble
Things did not look good for Fenerbahce front court at halftime. Jan Vesely had 3 personal fouls, while Joffrey Lauvergne, Luigi Datome and Nicolo Melli each had two. Because of that Vesely sat out almost 7 minutes to open the third quarter, and played 21 minutes and 30 seconds in this game, tied for a season-low. Datome, Nikola Kalinic and Vesely all had 4 fouls late in the game, but all still managed to make key plays down the stretch, including clutch free throws by Kalinic and Datome in the final minute of the contest.
Baskonia center Ilimane Diop made 11 of 13 free throws. It not only set his career-highs for free throws made and attempted, but also saw him attain a EuroLeague season-high in both categories. It is the most free throws a Baskonia player made and attempted since Maciej Lampe went 12-for-14 against FC Barcelona Lassa in in January 2013.
Both teams go on the road in Round 7. Baskonia (2-4) travels to the Montenegrin capital to face winless Buducnost Voli Podgorica (0-6) on Thursday, and later that same day Fenerbahce (5-1) will visit Olympiacos Piraeus (3-3).
Friday, November 9, 2018