Fenerbahce starts Kokoskov era with win
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul defended its home court to overcome Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 77-63, giving new coach Igor Kokoskov a comfortable winning start. The Turkish team used strong defense to establish a double-digit lead before the break, and moved further ahead during a low-scoring third quarter. Zvezda, led for the first time by Sasa Obradovic, kept fighting but could never get the margin down to single digits, and the home team cruised home. Nando De Colo led Fenerbahce’s offense with 12 points and 7 assists, while debutant Lorenzo Brown top scored with 17 points on 8-of-12 field goal shooting. Edgaras Ulanovas and Ali Muhammed both made 3 three-pointers in their respective totals of 13 and 11 points. Zvezda was led by 15 points from Jordan Loyd while Langston Hall added 12, but the visiting team suffered through committing 17 turnovers.
Zvezda got moving through Hall’s mid-range jumper and a triple by Marko Jagodic-Kuridza, and Hall’s deep strike made it 3-8. Ulanovas made his second three-pointer and Danilo Barthel tied the score from the foul line before feeding Jan Vesely for a big slam. Corey Walden answered with a threeball but Fenerbahce moved back ahead with free throws and another Ulanovas triple made it 18-13. Hall and Duop Reath pulled Zvezda level, but Muhammed made back-to-back triples for 24-20 after ten minutes. Melih Mahmutoglu and Muhammed scored inside, but Hall and Ognjen Kuzmic did the same to keep Zvezda close. Defenses prevailed for the next few minutes before a flying slam from Brown made it 35-25. Dejan Davidovac reignited Zvezda from the corner, but Brown twice danced through to score and De Colo netted his first field goal from deep to give Fenerbahce a 42-30 half-time lead. Two sharp close-range finishes from Ulanovas extended the advantage shortly after the break, and Vesely’s jumper stretched the gap to 50-32 before Hall ended a 8-0 run from deep. Muhammed and Vesely made it a 20-point game, but three-pointers from Walden and Ognjen Dobric pulled it back to 57-41 after three quarters. Dobric struck again but Brown settled Fenerbahce from the corner, before Kuzmic and Vesely exchanged highlight reel dunks. De Colo and Barthel extended the lead to 67-50. A flurry of points from Loyd ensured the margin didn’t grow, but the home team was always comfortable and Jarell Eddie finished the game with a deep strike.
Bogdanovic and Guduric in the stands
The game was played behind closed doors but was still attended by two very special guests: former Fenerbahce players Bogdan Bogdanovic and Marko Guduric. Bogdanovic began his career with Zvezda’s cross-town rivals Partizan Belgrade, while Guduric started out with Zvezda so had split loyalties on this occasion.
New signings make their mark
Fenerbahce had a lot of help from its new signings, led by former Zvezda player Lorenzo Brown who top scored with 17 points. Brown, Edgaras Ulanovas (13), Danilo Barthel (5), Jarrell Eddie (5) and Dyshawn Pierre (3) combined for 56% of Fenerbahce’s points, while Johnathan Hamilton made 3 blocks in the first half.
Long-range shooting helps host
After a close start, Fenerbahce pulled into the lead with back-to-back triples from Ali Muhammed, and long-range shooting accuracy proved to be one of the differences between the teams. Fenerbahce finished with 10-of-24 three-pointers (41.7%), while Zvezda made just 9-of-29 (31%).
Milestones for Kuzmic
There was a double milestone for Zvezda’s big man Ognjen Kuzmic, who paired 7 points and 7 rebounds to take his respective EuroLeague career totals to 505 points and 403 rebounds.
Round 2 will see Fenerbahce face an Istanbul derby trip to Anadolu Efes on Thursday, while Zvezda will play its home opener against TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz on Friday.
Friday, October 2, 2020