Zalgiris stuns host Fenerbahce in last minute!
In one of the fastest, most incredible comebacks in Turkish Airlines EuroLeague history, Zalgiris Kaunas edged Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 76-79 on the road on Friday. Zalgiris improved to 3-3 in the standings while Fenerbahce dropped to 1-5 with its first home loss of the season. Marius Grigonis led the winners with 19 points, while Zach Leday added 16. Nando De Colo led Fenerbahce with 29 points. Kostas Sloukas had 13 and Derrick Williams 12 for the hosts, who led 76-69 with a minute left. Paulius Jankunas and Jock Landale shined early but an outstanding Nando De Colo helped Fenerbahce tie the game, 17-17, after 10 minutes. De Colo kept pacing Fenerbahce, getting help from Kostas Sloukas and Williams to give the hosts a 40-33 margin at halftime. A layup by Alex Perez tied the game, 47-47, but De Colo and Sloukas helped their team restore a 59-52 lead after 30 minutes. Zalgiris got within 69-67 but Luigi Datome and Williams boosted the hosts' lead to 76-69 with a minute left. Grigonis hit a triple and Nigel Hayes converted a three-point play off a steal that put Zalgiris close, at 76-75. Grigonis then buried a go-ahead lane jumper with 7.1 seconds left. Jan Vesely missed at the other end and Grigonis assured his team's comeback victory from the foul line.
Ali Muhammed got Fenerbahce going with a one-handed floater but a layup by Alex Perez and a triple by Arturas Milaknis put Zalgiris up 2-5. De Colo followed a layup with a jumper but Jankunas and Landale kept the guests in charge. Soon enough, De Colo responded with 5 points before Zach LeDay and Thomas Walkup helped the visitors forge a 17-17 tie after 10 minutes. Tarik Biberovic downed a jumper and Sloukas a three-pointer to make it 22-19 early in the second quarter. Landale dunked off a spin move and Perez hit from deep as Zalgiris regained a 22-24 lead. Soon, a three-point play by Vesely and triple by Sloukas took it back for Fenerbahce at 29-26. Williams added an alley-oop slam and De Colo bettered Marius Grigonis's acrobatic layup with a triple that Nigel Hayes matched, but Muhammed and an unstoppable De Colo assured a 40-33 Fenerbahce lead at halftime. Grigonis hit a three-pointer after the break and LeDay brought Zalgiris a bit closer, 41-38. Fenerbahce kept running its offense through De Colo but a three-point play by Jankunas and consecutive baskets by LeDay and Perez tied it at 47-47. De Colo buried a triple, Joffrey Lauvergne added a reverse layup, and Sloukas downed a running floater that gave the hosts fresh air at 56-50. De Colo insisted with a three-point play and Jankunas got the guests within 59-52 after 30 minutes. Landale and Datome traded layups early in the fourth quarter and a three-point play by LeDay gave Zalgiris hope at 61-57. De Colo drew an unsportsmanlike foul and buried a three-pointer, and Williams copied him right after that to make Zalgiris call timeout at 69-61. Hayes and Edgaras Ulanovas each hit triples, but so did Datome for a 72-67 score. Williams nailed a fallaway jumper and added a dunk off the baseline that seemed that seemed too seal the outcome at 76-69 with less than 2 minutes left. With 51 seconds left, Grigonis buried a big triple, then an inbound steal by Ulanovas allowed Hayes to stun the crowd with a three-point play for a 76-75 score. Sloukas missed and Zalgiris got the ball back with 23.5 seconds left. Grigonis scored an off-balance shot in penetration to give Zalgiris the lead, and added free throws to seal his team's unbelievable win.
Grigonis made the difference in the game, first with an unbelievable three-point shot right in front of his defender, and then with the go-ahead basket with 7.1 seconds left. He finished the game with 19 points on 3-for-4 two-point, 2-for-5 three-point, and 7-for-8 free throw shooting, plus 4 rebounds, for a PIR of 23.
A huge dunk by Williams gave Fenerbahce a 76-69 lead, but Grigonis and LeDay combined for all points in a game-closing 0-10 run that allowed Zalgiris to steal the victory. The key play, however, was an inbound steal by Edgaras Ulanovas which led to Hayes converting a three-point play. Zalgiris didn't trail again.
Zalgiris outrebounded Fenerbahce by 23-32 and shot the ball better from all distances. Zalgiris hit 60.6% of its shots inside the arc, 46.7% from downtown and 85.7% of its free throw attempts. Fenerbahce downed 47.4% of its two-point shots, 38.1% from beyond the arc and only 61.5% from the foul line.
Did you notice?
It is Zalgiris's third road win against Fenerbahce since Sarunas Jasikevicius became the team's head coach. It had previously defeated Fenerbahce 89-90 on December 14, 2017 and 80-82 in Game 2 of last season's playoffs.
Both teams return for Round 7 action on Friday, November 8, and both play at home. Fenerbahce hosts FC Bayern Munich and Zalgiris welcomes FC Barcelona.
Friday, November 1, 2019