Galatasaray comes back to take Top 16 opener
Galatasaray Liv Hospital took charge in the second half to defeat Zalgiris Kaunas 78-69 in the Top 16 opener on Tuesday at Abdi Ipekci Arena in Istanbul. The Lithuanian champs led 39-47 midway through the third quarter, but a pair of baskets-plus-fouls by Zoran Erceg and some great plays by Sinan Guler turned things around. The hosts entered the fourth quarter up 57-55 and never let Zalgiris back in it. Erceg and Guler each scored 14 points to lead Galatasaray, while Carlos Arroyo added 12 points and 5 assists, Kerem Gonlum scored 10 and Justin Carter produced 7 points, 7 rebounds and a handful of highlights in his Turkish Airlines Euroleague debut. James Anderson paced Zalgiris with 15 points, Robertas Javtokas scored 12 and Arturas Gudaitis 11. The game was played before empty stands due to sanctions. After a close opening quarter, Gudaitis came alive for 9 second-quarter points to give Zalgiris a comfortable cushion. Gonlum revived the hosts, who went on an 8-0 run, but Anderson hit a pair of jumpers to give Zalgiris a 35-41 halftime advantage. Galatasaray’s defense mad the difference in the third quarter. A pair of three-point plays from Erceg tied the game at 49-49 and Guler gave the hosts a 57-55 lead through three quarters. The momentum remained with Galatasaray the rest of the way and Justin Carter provided a few highlights down the stretch as the home team chalked up another victory.
First quarter: Milaknis’s shooting helps Zalgiris to slim advantage
The hosts opened the scoring through Erceg’s perfect pass to a cutting Vladimir Micov. Javtokas answered with a hook to get Zalgiris on the board. Vaidas Kariniauskas passed from the low post to Arturas Milaknis for a three and a 2-5 Zalgiris lead. After Patric Young free throws, Paulius Jankunas scored with one hand. The hosts went in front after an Arroyo triple and 3 free throws by Erceg, who was fouled shooting from downtown. Another Javtokas hook and Anderson’s pull-up three gave the visitors a 10-12 lead midway through the quarter. Arroyo drove and dished to Young for a reverse layup to tie the game. Milaknis added a baseline jumper before the game’s first timeout. Kariniauskas boosted the Zalgiris lead to 4, but Arroyo and Erceg hit back with triples to put the hosts ahead 18-16. However Milaknis and Jankunas sandwiched threes around an Arroyo jumper to make it 20-22 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Gudaitis comes off bench for 9 points to boost visitors
Edgaras Ulanovas beat the 24-scond clock with a runner. Marty Pocius split free throws and Aleks Maric scored his first Galatasaray points on the offensive glass. Jankunas fed Gudaitis for a dunk. Will Cherry drove and dumped to Gudaitis for another slam. Ender Arslan countered with a jumper. Micov was fouled on the break and made it a 1-point game from the line. A Gudaitis triple kept Zalgiris ahead and Tomas Dimsa drove for a layup and a 27-33 advantage. Gudaitis’s 9th point of the quarter capped a 0-7 run. Gonlum looked to revive the hosts with a basket-plus-foul. After a short Gonlum jumper, Galatasaray’s full-court press resulted in a Carter steal and a pair of Arslan free throws. Micov’s foul shots tied the game at 35-35 after an 8-0 run for the hosts. Back-to-back Anderson jumpers and a Javtokas layup put the visitors up 35-41 at halftime.
Third quarter: Great defense, active Guler push Galatasaray to slim lead
A slow start to the second half saw neither team score for nearly two minutes until Anderson’s steal and slam. After an Arroyo jumper, Anderson split free throws. Gonlum’s tip-in brought Galatasaray within 5. Ulanovas hit from downtown, but Erceg’s three-point play kept it close and Gonlum made it 44-47 from the line. Darius Songaila scored for Zalgiris only to see a Guler layup and Erceg’s steal and three-point play tie it at 49-49. Javtokas scored in the paint to push the Lithuanian champs ahead again. Guler free throws were matched by Javtokas inside. Erceg’s perfect pass to Guler for a layup tied it and the Galatasaray swingman’s steal and layup gave the hosts a 57-55 lead.
Fourth quarter: Carter finishes strong debut for hosts
Cherry committed an unsportsmanlike foul on Carter from behind after a Galatasaray steal. His free throws made it a 4-point difference. Anderson found Gudaitis at the rim, but Guler countered. Arroyo free throws put the hosts up 63-57. Ulanovas used a mismatch to get an open jumper, but Carter’s put-back basket kept the hosts in front with five minutes to play. A perfect pass from Arroyo led Carter to a two-handed jam plus foul and a 9-point lead. Anderson kept Zalgiris in the hunt with a basket at one end and a block at the other, but Carter fed Young for an alley-oop slam and a 70-61 lead with three minutes to play. Kariniauskas scored 3 points on two possessions, but a Guler layup with 46 seconds remaining essentially sealed the final outcome.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014