Fenerbahce beats Strasbourg to storm into Top 16
Fenerbahce Istanbul advanced to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16 from Group A by thrashing Strasbourg 81-64 at home on Thursday. Fenerbahce improved to 6-1 and has a two-game gap over every other team with three games to go in the round. Strasbourg dropped to 3-4. Jan Vesely led the winners with 20 points on 9-of-11 two-point shooting. Ekpe Udoh added 15 points, while Bogdan Bogdanovic had 13 for Fenerbahce. Mardy Collins, Rodrigue Beaubois and Vladmir Golubovic led Strasbourg with 14 points apiece. Beaubois shined early to give Strasbourg a 6-8 lead. It didn't last long, however, as Vesely and Udoh fueled a 16-4 run, which gave Fenerbahce its first double-digit lead, 22-12. Beaubois got Strasbourg within 22-14 after 10 minutes, but Vesely and an outstanding Bogdanovic allowed the hosts to get a 38-25 margin. Romeo Travis and Golubovic brought Strasbourg within 40-34 at halftime. Collins stepped up after the break and got help from Beaubois and Golubovic to bring the guests within 52-47. It didn't last long, as Melih Mahmutoglou struck twice from downtown in a 14-0 run that sealed the outcome, 66-47, early in the fourth quarter. Fenerbahce boosted its margin to 71-49 soon after that and never looked back.
First quarter: Udoh, Dixon put Fenerbahce ahead
Beaubois got Strasbourg going with a coast-to-coast layup off a steal. Bogdanovic quickly answered with a driving layup and Bobby Dixon found Vesely for a wild alley-oop slam to give Fenerbahce its first lead, 4-2. Collins hit a step-back jumper, which Nikola Kalinic matched with a driving basket. Golubovic nailed a baseline jumper, but Beaubois followed with a layup to put Strasbourg back ahead, 6-8. Vesely hit a jump hook and Dixon followed with a three-pointer for an 11-8 Fenerbahce edge. Golubovic hit another close shot, but Dixon struck from downtown and Vesely boosted the hosts' lead to 5. Udoh took over with a dunk, erased Kyle Weems's rainbow jumper with a close basket and added an off-balance layup-plus-foul that made it a double-digit game. Beaubois shined with a big basket in penetration to keep Strasbourg within 22-14 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Strasbourg improves at both ends
Vesely took over with a one-handed slam early in the quarter and a step-back jumper by Luigi Datome boosted the hosts' lead to 26-14. Strasbourg struggled to score until Louis Campbell stepped up with a three-pointer. A free throw by Paul Lacombe gave the guests hope at 26-18. Vesely kept pushing Fenerbahce with a power layup, which Beaubois bettered with a triple. Vesely insisted with a three-point play, but didn't find much help around. Matt Howard scored down low after which Fenerbahce called timeout at 31-23. Bogdanovic scored in transition and Pero Antic fed Udoh for a dunk that restored a 12-point Fenerbahce margin. Beaubois scored again, but a three-pointer by a red-hot Bogdanovic boosted his team's lead to 38-25. Golubovic, Travis and Lacombe hit free throws to rally Strasbourg. Travis shined with a backdoor layup and Jeremy Leloup split free throws – ending his consecutive free throws made streak at 26, which dated back to December 2008 – to bring the visitors within 40-34 at halftime.
Third quarter: Hosts make their big move
Vesely scored around the basket soon after the break and found Bogdanovic for an off-balance basket to return Fenerbahce’s double-digit lead, 44-34. Golubovic banked in a close shot, which Udoh erased with a turnaround jumper. Kalinic buried an off-balance turnaround jumper, but Golubovic scored again and a three-pointer by Beaubois got Strasbourg within 48-41. After Kalinic made free throws, Collins hit a four-meter jumper. A put-back slam by Vesely kept his team out of trouble, 52-43. Collins quickly scored in transition and a reverse layup by Travis made it a 5-point game. Udoh split free throws and Bogdanovic scored around the basket to give the hosts some fresh air at 55-47. Melih Mahmutoglou found space for a wide-open corner three-pointer, which Vesely followed with an acrobatic layup to boost Fenerbahce's margin to 61-47.
Fourth quarter: Fenerbahce wraps up early
Mahmutoglou nailed his second three-pointer in as many minutes early in the quarter and a jumper by Berk Ugurlu broke the game open at 66-47 after a 14-0 run, which bridged the final two periods. Strasbourg could not find a way to the basket until Lacombe scored inside. Datome stepped up with a wild behind-the-back assist, which allowed Vesely to ignite the crowd with a dunk. Strasbourg called timeout at 69-49, but Fenerbahce kept dominating the game tempo through Mahmutoglou and Ugurlu. Meanwhile, free throws by Datome sealed the outcome, 71-49. Both teams started to fight for the tie-break advantage, as Strasbourg had registered a 21-point home win in regular season Round 2. Strasbourg won that battle, but Fenerbahce had wrapped up a well-deserved win long before the final buzzer.
Thursday, November 26, 2015