Westermann wins it for Fenerbahce in Berlin
Leo Westermann scored all 11 of his points in the game's final 4 minutes to lead Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul to a 70-74 victory over ALBA Berlin on Thursday night at Mercedes-Benz Arena in the German capital. ALBA led for much of the game, but succumbed to Westermann, who outscored the entire home team in the closing stretch. The result lifted Fenerbahce's 10-12 and the edge of the playoff zone, while ALBA slipped to 7-15 at the bottom of the table. Kostas Sloukas led five Fenerbahce scorers in double figures with 16 points, Luigi Datome added 15 points, Westermann finished with 11 and Jan Vesely and Nando De Colo scored 10 points apiece. Rokas Giedraitis paced the hosts with 14 points, Landry Nnoko scored 11, Martin Hermannsson 10 and Luke Sikma delivered 8 assists in defeat.
De Colo started well for Fenerbahce, though Nnoko kept ALBA close. Giedraitis heated up and Peyton Siva made a great lead pass to find Sikma for a go-ahead layup that made it 11-10. Fenerbahce responded with 7 straight points to lead 13-17. ALBA finished the quarter with 9 unanswered points, including Tyler Cavanaugh's triple to beat the first-quarter buzzer for a 22-17 advantage. Fenerbahce committed turnovers on the first three possessions of the second quarter and after a three by Makai Mason put ALBA up 8, the visitors called a timeout. De Colo – the EuroLeague all-time leader in free throw accuracy – split free throws to end the Fenerbahce drought. Hermannsson shined with a blocked shot at one end and a three-pointer at the other to give ALBA a 30-20 lead. The points started to climb as the teams traded shots. Marcus Eriksson's three-pointer made it 37-26, but Datome responded with a three for the visitors. Giedraitis briefly gave ALBA a double-digit lead again before Vesely's layup set the halftime score at 41-33.
Fenerbahce regrouped over the break and led by Vesely and Sloukas closed the gap to 4 on a number of occasions, but ALBA remained in control. The Fenerbahce defense caused fits for ALBA and Vesely made it 51-48 with 2 minutes remaining in the third quarter. Free throws by Mason and Cavanaugh rebuilt ALBA's cushion and Nnoko added a foul shot for a 56-50 lead through three quarters. A pair of threes by Sloukas early in the fourth again narrowed the margin to 60-58. Nikola Kalinic tied it, but a three by Hermannsson put ABA back in front. The lead would be brief, a three by Westermann gave Fenerbahce its first lead since the first quarter, 63-65, with 4 minutes remaining. Both teams went cold and neither scored for the next 2-pus minutes. Westermann netted 2 free throws with 1:32 to play and a three with 1 minute to play that boosted the visitors' lead to 65-70. Eriksson drilled a deep three to keep ALBA alive, but Westermann beat the shot clock with another triple and Derrick Williams iced the game from the foul line.
Leo Westermann took control of the game late and outscored the entire ALBA team 7-11 over the final 4 minutes. His first basket of the night was a triple to give Fenerbahce the lead, 63-65. He then added free throws and a pull-up triple for a 65-70 advantage with 1 minute remaining. His next three-pointer all but wrapped up the game. He contributed 5 rebounds along with his 11 points for a performance index rating of 15 in just 13 minutes on the floor.
Fenerbahce came into the game last in the league in rebounding with 29.6 per game, but managed to outrebound ALBA 23-31. The visitors committed 14 turnovers in the first half, but only 5 in the last 20 minutes as they rallied back.
Kostas Sloukas scored the 2,000th point of his career, becoming the 37th player in competition history to reach that number. Jan Vesely also moved his name up the ladder of all-time EuroLeague greats. He moved past Kerem Gonlum for sole possession of sixth place in career offensive rebound with 423. Vesely also blocked 3 shots to claim 11th place in that category with 146 career rejections. He leapfrogged Robertas Javtokas (144).
ALBA is in action next on Tuesday, February 4 when it visits AX Armani Exchange Milan. Fenerbahce heads to Russia to challenge Zenit St Petersburg the following evening.
Thursday, January 30, 2020