Real Madrid took yet another step forwards to advance to the Top 16 in Group C by downing Fenerbahce Ulker 87-77 in the Spanish capital on Thursday night. Madrid improved to 6-2 and ties with AXA FC Barcelona for the second spot in Group C. Meanwhile, Fenerbahce dropped to 4-4 and is fourth in the standings. Felipe Reyes led the winners with 17 points on 7-for-10 two-pointers while Kerem Tunceri added 12 for Madrid, that already beat its opponents in Turkey earlier in the regular season. Willie Solomon led Fenerbahce with 16 points and 6 assists. Oguz Savas added 16, James White had 11, Omer Onan got 10 while Mirsad Turkcan grabbed 10 rebounds for the guests. Blagota Sekulic had 4 points in a 9-0 run that Michalis Pelekanos capped with a layup that helped Madrid to get a 26-18 lead after 10 minutes. Louis Bullock shined in the second quarter, while Reyes and a final tip-in from a recovered Alex Mumbru booste the hosts' lead to 47-33 at halftime. Fenerbahce tried to change things in the second half, but Madrid used effective man-to-man defense and a patient offense with all players involved to seal a big win.
Gasper Vidmar got Fenerbahce going with a layup that Reyes matched in the other end. Turkcan sank a mid-range jumper for a 2-4 Fenerbahce lead. Madrid kept missing open shots but managed to ajust its offense while Tunceri nailed a three-pointer. Vidmar provided a highlight with a power dunk but Reyes bettered it with a three-point play, good for a 8-6 Madrid edge. Solomon made free throws that Tunceri erased with a closer basket. Madrid kept struggling in the defensive end, as Solomon fed Savas with a layup-plus-foul. Tunceri kept pacing Madrid with a jumper that a red hot Savas matched with a driving layup. Tunceri - who else? - buried one from downtown as Madrid now started to dominate the boards. Meanwhile, Sekulic followed a jump hook with a tip-in for a 19-13 Madrid lead. Pelekanos capped a 9-0 run with an acrobatic layup, making Fenerbahce call timeout at 21-13. Solomon rescued the guests with a triple but Bullock took over with a floating jumper. Free throws by Solomon and a step-back three-pointer by Smith fixed the score at 26-18 after 10 minutes.
Bullock got the crowd involved with a layup off a steal that Emir Preldzic quickly erased in the other end. Fenerbahce tried a young frontcourt featuring Savas, Preldzic and Omer Asik. Another youngster, Sergio Llull, made free throws for a 30-20 Madrid lead. Bullock shined with a running triple, as Fenerbahce now had troubles against Madrid's aggressive man-to-man defense. James White beat the shot clock buzzer with a corner three-pointer and Onan added a fast break layup off a steal but Madrid did not panic. Pelekanos made free throws and Axel Hervelle nailed a corner triple, good for a 37-25 Madrid lead. White scored again and Hakan Damirel added a backdoor layup to give Fenerbahce some hope, 37-29. Bullock kept pacing Madrid with a long two-pointer and Lazaros Papadopoulos added his trademark hook shot to keep Madrid way ahead, 41-31. White and Reyes traded free throws, as Madrid kept excelling in defense now. Reyes stepped up with a put-back basket while Mumbru beat the buzzer with a tip-in that made it a 14-point game, 47-33, at halftime.
Sekulic made free throws on Vidmar's fourth foul right after the break but White fed Savas for a layup while Onan added a fast break basket to get Fenerbahce within 49-37. Tunceri buried another jumper while Pelekanos nailed a triple from the right wing, good for a 54-37 Madrid margin. Reyes added a fast break layup, as Fenerbahce had troubles at both ends now. Solomon tried to change things with a mid-range jumper that Tunceri quickly matched with an easy layup. Savas scored in the low post and Solomon added an acrobatic layup to get Fenerbahce within 58-43. Savas scored around the basket but Papadopoulos provided a highlight with a power dunk. White stroke from downtown but Smith answered to keep Madrid way ahead, 62-48. Onan stepped up with a driving layup, as Fenerbahce improved it defense, making it much more aggressive through an outstanding Turkcan. The guests did not find the way to the basket however, as Madrid kept a 62-50 margin after 30 minutes.
Hervelle provided a highlight with a wild alleyoop dunk earloy in the fourth quarter but Turkcan scored around the basket for a 64-52 Fener deficit. It was make-or-break time for the guests but Madrid dominated the offensive board now. Raul Lopez drew a foul and calmly made 3 free throws but Asik scored coming off the baseline. Papadopoulos shined with a big basket in the low post that Savas bettered it with a three-point play to get the guests within 69-57. Madrid kept running its offense through Papadopoulos, who scored inside before more free throws by Lopez made it 73-57. Solomon and Hervelle traded baskets, as Fenerbahce was running out of time. Solomon stroke from downtown that Asik added a power layup for a 76-64 deficit with 4 minutes remaining. Free throws by Onan and Asik got Fenerbahce even closer, 77-67. Reyes dunked it off a steal but Onan immediately answered and Savas added a put-back layup to make it an eight-point game, 79-71. Mumbru hit a turnaround jumper to seal the outcome, as all Madrid fans were already celebrating an important win.
Thursday, December 13, 2007