Cholet Basket KOd Fenerbahce 82-78
Cholet Basket recorded its third straight Turkish Airlines Euroleague win and knocked off the last remaining undefeated team with an 82-78 victory over Fenerbahce Ulker at La Meilleraie on Wednesday. Sammy Mejia starred with 29 points – including a pair of clutch free throws with 18 seconds to play that made it a two-possession game. Cholet got the job done and improved to 3-2 in Group C despite playing without the league’s leadng rebounder, Randal Falker, and guard Fabien Causer, who were sidelined by injury. Contributions came from everywhere, including young Cristophe Leonard, who never scored before in the Euroleague, but was a key part of a 10-0 second-quarter run that helped Cholet take a 41-34 halftime lead. FB Ulker did not go down without a fight and battled back from a 12-point deficit to within 2, but Cholet had the answers and spurred on by a raucous crowd, held on for the win. Antywane Robinson tallied 14 points and 7 rebounds and DeMarcus Nelson had 12 for the French champs, who host group co-leader Montepaschi Siena next. Roko Ukic and Tarence Kinsey paced the Turkish champs with 15 points apiece, Emir Preldzic had 12 and Darjus Lavrinovic scored 10, grabbed 8 rebounds and blocked 3 shots. Fenerbahce visits Lietuvos Rytas in Week 6.
Cholet controlled the opening tip and struck first when Claude Marquis put in Mejia’s missed shot. Ukic’s jumper soon evened things up. The teams traded baskets with Cholet going inside and FB Ulker getting its points from the guards. Marko Tomas sank the game’s first triple and Lavrinovic spun inside to make it 6-11. Nelson sped through the visiting defense for a layup and then Mejia scored to narrow the gap to 10-11. After a TV timeout, Robinson scored on the offensive glass to knot the game at 12-12. The visitors regained the lead as Kaya Peker scored inside and Ukic from downtown. Cholet came right back as Mejia banked in a pull-up jumper and Luc-Arthur Vebone tipped in a missed Robinson jumper. Mirsad Turkcan sank a triple and Kinsey scored at the basket before Mejia closed the opening quarter at 20-24.
Leonard’s first Euroleague points came from downtown as the home crowd voiced their approval. Preldzic came back with baskets on Fenerbahce’s next two possessions, but Cholet found its comfort zone and Mejia scored twice on second-chance possessions – the second time from downtown to even the game at 30-30. Vule Avdalovic pulled up for a triple and Leonard capped a 10-0 run. Lynn Greer got 2 from the line before Leonard continued a breakout performance with another bucket. Nelson scored a reverse layup to push the lead to 39-32. Marquis muscled his way for a basket and a 9-point edge. Lavrinovic got 2 from the line to make it 41-34 at the break.
Lavrinovic rejected Robinson, which led to a tough layup scored by Ukic in transition as the visitors tried to come out strong. But Cholet was up to the challenge as Mejia answered with a three-point play and soon broke up a FB Ulker break. Visiting head coach Neven Spahija didn’t like what he saw and was whistled for a technical foul. Mejia took advantage with a pair of free throws and a basket to pump the Cholet lead to 48-36. Kinsey stepped up for Fener with a triple and a layup to close the gap to 7. After a Kinsey floater went in and out, Mamoutou Diarra darted downcourt for a basket-plus-foul. He missed the free throw, but Robinson got the rebound and some crisp passing from Avdalovic to Vebobe gifted Robinson a two-handed jam and a 57-45 Cholet cushion. Preldzic answered with a basket-and-foul and also missed the resulting free throw, but FB Ulker did not capitalize on it the same way. Ukic’s pull-up triple still managed to cut the gap to 60-52 at the end of the quarter.
Ukic and Preldzic made it a game instantly with a pair of baskets to cut the gap to 4. Nelson rained down a big triple and a layup, but Turkcan stepped outside for a three to keep the visitors within 65-61. Mejia could not be stopped. After Greer made a tough layup, Mejia got to the basket for a three-point play, picking up Omer Onan’s fourth foul along the way. Avdalovic then fed Vebobe to put Cholet up 11 and bring the signing crowd to its feet. After a FB Ulker timeout, Preldzic came right back with a triple and Ukic handed off to Peker as the crowd grew quiet. But they soon erupted when Mejia sank a jumper. Still the visitors fought on and Lavrinovic free throws and a Kinsey slam made it 76-72 with two minutes remaining. However Cholet would not be denied. Robinson dropped in a little baseline floater that touched plenty of rim first and sank the free throw that came with it, practically sinking Fenerbahce along the way. Kinsey made it 79-75 with 1:19 to go as the visiting team refused to quit. Peker went to the line with his team down 5 and 38.9 seconds left, but missed twice. However the visitors controlled the rebound and Kinsey got to the line. He though only made 1. Forced to foul, the visitors chose wisely by sending Marquis to the line and he missed both. At the other end, Ukic trimmed the lead to 80-78 with 2 from the line and 19.2 seconds remaining. But this time Cholet got the ball to Mejia, who sank 2 with 18 seconds left. Fenerbahce wildly tried to get off a good shot, but did not score on its final possession and Cholet celebrated the win.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010