Fenerbahce cruises past newcomer Gran Canaria
Fenerbahce Istanbul led from start to finish en route to a 97-72 win over Turkish Airlines EuroLeague debutant Herbalife Gran Canaria at its Ulker Sports and Event Hall on Friday night. The hosts opened a double figure lead in the first half, and never lost the grip of the game. Jan Vesely starred with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists in less than 22 minutes, to lead the reigning EuroLeague runner-ups in this victory.
Fenerbahce took control from the start behind its defense, holding the visitors to only 2 points in the first 7 minutes, and a basket-plus-foul from Jan Vesely opened a 13-2 lead. The visitors’ 40-year old Albert Oliver stopped the bleeding, scoring 6 points and making history by becoming the oldest scorer in the competition this century, but Fenerbahce did not allow its opponents to come much closer. A pair of alley-oop dunks from Vesely put the hosts up 28-14 early in the second before Christopher Evans got it going for Gran Canaria, scoring 9 points in the second quarter. However, a three from Nikola Kalinic midway through the second (the first three-pointer of the game) followed by a triple-plus-foul from Kostas Sloukas helped Fenerbahce keep the margin in double figures, and go into half-time up 49-35. After the break Anzejs Pasecniks single-handedly cut the deficit to 50-41, but a pair of threes from Luigi Datome and a three-point play from Joffrey Lauvergne opened a 59-43 margin. Vesely continued to be hard-to-stop for the visitors, not only scoring but also dishing assists for his teammates. The hosts held a 75-58 edge after three quarters, and Marko Guduric’s corner triple made it 82-58 early in the fourth as Fenerbahce continued to cruise the rest of the way.
Even though Fenerbahce missed its first 6 three-point attempts, all wide open, they made it up by corralling those long rebounds and pulling down 8 offensive boards in the opening 9 minutes. Also, Fenerbahce allowed only 2 points in the opening 7 minutes. It spoke volumes about the home team’s approach to the game, which certainly paved the road to victory.
Jan Vesely was everywhere on Friday night. Coming off the bench he had 15 points and 8 rebounds before half-time, getting his way inside, while also living up to his Czech Helicopter nickname by finishing a pair of alley-oop dunks after passes from Nikola Kalinic and Melih Mahmutoglu. In the second half Vesely added some nifty passing to his repertoire, finishing the game with 19 points, on 7-of-8 from two-point range, 11 rebounds and 3 assists.
Movers and Shakers
Nikola Kalinic finished with 16 points for Fenerbahce, while Luigi Datome and Joffrey Lauvergne scored 12 apiece. Most of Kostas Sloukas’s production – 8 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds – came in the first half. Christopher Evans scored 9 of his 13 points in the second quarter to lead Gran Canaria, and Anzejs Pasecniks added 12 points in the losing effort.
The two teams started the game by combining to miss their first 17 three-point attempts. Fenerbahce was 0-for-6 and Gran Canaria 0-for-11 before Kalinic made a shot from long range midway through the second quarter. Fenerbahce then made 6 of its next 9 three-point attempts, finishing 6-for-17. The visitors shot 6-for-31.
Tuesday will be an historic day for Gran Canaria (0-1) when in Round 2 it hosts fellow Spanish side FC Barcelona Lassa (0-1). A day later, Fenerbahce (1-0) stays at home to welcome Khimki Moscow Region (0-1).
Friday, October 12, 2018