Guduric fires Fenerbahce past Maccabi
Fenerbahce Istanbul delivered a strong second-half surge to edge past Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv and earn a 70-74 victory in a pulsating atmosphere at Menora Mivtachim Arena. Marko Guduric was the hero for Fenerbahce, scoring 13 points in the space of four minutes during the final period to propel a 6-14 run that helped seal a ferociously competitive contest. He received plenty of help from Kostas Sloukas, who scored 18 points, and Jan Vesely added 11. Maccabi, which led for most of the first half, was paced by 17 points and 7 rebounds by Angelo Caloiaro, while Scottie Wilbekin scored 15. The win lifted Fenerbahce to 8-1 after four straight wins and dropped Maccabi to 1-8.
The defenses were on top early, before Maccabi pulled to an 8-2 lead with close-range scores from Wilbekin, DeAndre Kane and Tarik Black. Kendrick Ray and Sloukas both scored twice before Melih Mahmutoglu netted the last basket of the first quarter to make it 16-13. Fenerbahce took over early in the second quarter behind a pair of baskets from Joffrey Lauvergne and a triple from Gigi Datome, taking its first lead at 20-22. Wilbekin and Ali Muhammed traded triples and Johnny O’Bryant also struck from deep to restore Maccabi's lead. Datome and Wilbekin again scored triples before a three-point play from Black and a Caloiaro tip-in made it 38-30. Free throws and a Nikola Kalinic jumper pulled Fenerbahce back to 41-36 at halftime. The second half started with triples from Caloiaro and Muhammed, but then the scoring slowed before Sloukas scored 6 consecutive points and Vesely added a pair of alley-oops for a 50-53 lead. Alex Tyus tied it up at the start of the final period, but then Guduric took over, first hitting a pair of key triples and a mid-range jumper for a 62-66 edge. A red-hot Guduric made another triple and added a left-handed runner for a 63-71 cushion, but Wilbekin gave Maccabi hope from deep. Caloiaro tipped in to make it a one-possession game with 75 seconds left, but after a couple of failed possessions, Vesely split free throws for a 70-74 lead with 19 seconds to go and Maccabi couldn't respond.
Sloukas takes command in third
In addition to Guduric taking over in the final period, the other key passage of the game came midway through the third quarter, when Fenerbahce enjoyed a 3-10 run to take a lead it would never relinquish. And the key man during those moments was undoubtedly Kostas Sloukas, who scored 8 points and assisted the other basket with a great pass for an alley-oop slam by Jan Vesely.
Maccabi's D starts to stiffen
They might have lost the game, but Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv fans can take heart that their team took a step in the right direction in Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos's first home game in charge. In particular, the intense defense displayed by Maccabi – especially in the opening stages – showed that Sfairopoulos is ready to improve that aspect of his team's game. Fenerbahce needed 3:34 to score its first basket and was forced into 3 turnovers in the first five minutes.
New star Avdija takes flight
A footnote to the game was provided by Maccabi's Deni Avdija, who stepped onto the floor early in the second quarter to make his EuroLeague debut at the tender age of 17. And far from being overawed by such a big occasion, he took just less than a minute to score his first basket! A name to remember…
Maccabi will look for its first win under new coach Sfairopoulos with a home game against FC Bayern Munich on Thursday, while a day later Fenerbahce faces a tough trip to FC Barcelona Lassa.
Thursday, November 22, 2018