Fenerbahce Ulker beat Lietuvos Rytas 75-81
Fenerbahce Ulker rebounded from its first loss of the season to put a foot in the next round by beating host Lietuvos Rytas 75-81 on Wednesday in Vilnius, Lithuania. FB Ulker raised its record to 5-1 and remains tied for first place in Group C with Montepaschi Siena. Both teams can take comfort in a likely Top 16 berth since no team with five victories has not advanced eventually since the regular season was reduced to 10 games two years ago. FB Ulker took over what had been a back-and-forth scoreboard with a 6-21 run on either side of halftime. Point guard Roko Ukic hit 4 three-pointers in that span and finished with 24 points for the winners. Oguz Savas balanced him with 16 points in the paint. L. Rytas dropped to 1-5 and two victories behind fourth place with four games left. Martynas Gecevicius led the hosts with 16 points, while Cemal Nalga added 14 and 8 rebounds. Sarunas Jasikevicius came off the bench for 12 points and Khalid El-Amin scored 10.
Darjus Lavrinovic opened the scoring for FB Ulker and was answered immediately by Jonas Valanciunas with a jump-hook over two defenders. After that, FB Ulker used its big men and trademark defense to close down the paint and force L. Rytas to shoot from further away, with Gecevicius connecting off the dribble. But with a slow tempo and Ukic scoring the game's first three-pointer, the guests stayed ahead 6-7 after 5 minutes. After a timeout, FB Ulker produced
a cozy 5-0 run with Lavrinovic and Marko Tomas combining for all the points. The visitors continued to make the right choices on both ends but a fresh-off-the-bench Jasikevicius made immediate impact by dishing a nice no-look pass to Milko Bjelica for a dunk. After Ukic responded with a layup, Jasikevicius buried a shot from downtown to cut the difference to 11-16. Tarence Kinsey and Gecevicius traded baskets at FB Ulker held a 13-18 lead after 10 minutes.
Arturas Jomantas converted a triple to open the second quarter for the hosts, but 5 consecutive points by Lynn Greer, just in off FB Ulker's bench, kept the visitors safe at 16-23. L. Rytas responded stepping up both the game tempo and their defense to go on an 11-0 started by a Jasikevicius triple and ended with El-Amin's layup giving the hosts a 27-23 edge. Savas broke the FB Ulker silence with 4 points in the paint to reestablish his team's momentum. The visitors continued to dominate under the rim as the red-hot Savas hit 2 more baskets and forced a L. Rytas timeout at 30-34. The hosts responded with Valanciunas converting a pass from El-Amin, whose free throws made it 34-34. Kinsey broke the tie with a spectacular fastbreak dunk that Jasikevicius matched with a long jumper, but Ukic then reappeared with a big triple and Savas added a last free throw to establish a 36-40 FB Ulker lead at halftime.
Ukic opened the second half as he ended the first, with a smooth triple to which Kaya Peker added a tough
layup but Bjelica and Valanciunas responded with back-to-back acrobatic dunks to keep L. Rytas within 40-45. Ukic wouldn't be denied, however, racing for another basket and stepping out to hit another three-pointer that boosted FB Ulker's lead into double digits, 40-50. Jasikevicius came off the L. Rytas bench trying to turn things around with a fastbreak jumper, but Ukic was in a zone, and stroked again from behind the arc. And after Savas added 3 more points himself, the visitors had escaped to a 42-57 advantage. Cemal Nalga and Jomantas coverted passes from Jasikevicius for baskets, but the visitors kept finding gaps in the L. Rytas defense as Mirsad Turkcan buried a triple on the way to a 50-65 lead for FB Ulker after 30 minutes.
Greer and El-Amin exchanged triples to open the last quarter but Kinsey's fade-away jumper forced a now-or-never L. Rytas timeout at 53-70. Gecevicius stroked from behind the arc immediately and Nalga used an assist by Steponas Babrauskas to bring the hosts closer. Babrauskas added a triple to cut the difference to 61-72, but Turkcan dropped his second basket in a row from the paint and Ukic neutralized a tip-in by Nalga with a nice penetration of his own. L. Rytas didn't give up: Gecevicius nailed a three to cut the deficit to 66-76. But time was of the essence as FB Ulker patiently ran the clock and, more important, collected offensive rebounds. Ukic sealed the deal as he hit a jumper with 1:40 to go to make it 66-78, after which trimming the final margin was the best L. Rytas could do. FB Ulker was taking the victory back to Istanbul and hanging onto first place in Group C.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010