FB Ulker, an 86-79 winner over Lietuvos Rytas
Fenerbahce Ulker cruised to an impressive 86-69 victory over Lietuvos Rytas in the team’s Turkish Airlines Euroleague Group C opener on Wednesday night at Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul, Turkey. The Turkish champs led from start to finish and were ahead by double figures from the second quarter onward. Darjus Lavrinovic led FB Ulker with 21 points, while added a career-high 17 points. Roko Ukic ran the offense with 11 points and 7 assists, Oguz Savas and Omer Onan netted 10 apiece and Kaya Peker pulled down 11 rebounds for FB Ulker, which travels to face Cibona Zagreb next week. Milko Bjelica and Brad Newley led L. Rytas with 15 points each and Martynas Gecevicius scored 12, but perhaps the biggest bright spot was the inspired play of teenage big man Jonas Valanciunas, who produced 10 points without a miss and 10 rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench. L. Rytas returns home for a clash with Montepaschi Siena next week.
L. Rytas won the opening tip, but it was FB Ulker that struck first when Lavrinovic drained a three. It took two minutes before the visitors got on the scoreboard through a Newley drive. Omer Onan used his speed for a pair of baskets to keep the hosts in control. L. Rytas looked to build some momentum when Cemal Nalga scored inside and a Vidmar moving pick negated a Fener basket, but instead Marko Tomas rose up with a three and Ukic fed Lavrinovic for a basket-plus-foul and a 17-6 edge. Lavrinovic’s second three put the hosts up 13. Bjelica came in and provided a lift for L. Rytas, but Savas matched him and kept Fenerbahce Ulker comfortably ahead. Young stud Valanciunas scored his first Euroleague basket and Steponas Babrauskas hit a triple on the fast break to bring his team within 24-16 after 10 minutes.
Savas muscled his way inside to restore a double-digit lead and Tarence Kinsey made his presence felt on the defensive end. Kenan Bajramovic converted for L. Rytas, but Savas continued to produce and then a bad pass by Gecevicius led to a Mirsad Turkcan steal and slam and a 32-18 lead. Lavrinovic added 2 from the line to push the FB Ulker lead to a new high, 16. Bjelica and Bajramovic tried to fight back, but the Turkish champs always had an answer. Igor Milosevic stepped up with a long jumper and strong interior defense denied Ukic. Milosevic tacked on another point from the line and Ukic missed in the closing seconds of the half to leave it 40-27 at the break.
FB Ulker came out firing as Ukic and Lavrinovic sandwiched a pair of triples around a Gecevicius jumper. Valanciunas added points from the line and Gecevicius and scored too, however Vidmar scored on the offensive glass, drew Valanciunas’s third foul and made a free throw. Ukic followed with a basket in transition to make it 55-36. Bjelica continued a solid night with a basket-plus-foul, but it wasn’t enough to put more than a dent in the home team. Lynn Greer got his name in the scorebook with a long jumper. Newley stayed with Onan on a fast break attempt to block his shot and keep Fenerbahce Ulker from taking the lead to 20 points. At the other end, Gecevicius sank a three-pointer before a pretty basket by Onan left the hosts with a 62-45 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
Newley made another three and brought Lietuvos Rytas within 14 early in the fourth quarter as the hosts suffered a rare scoring drought. Valanciunis was able to cut the lead further, to 65-53 but Vidmar danced in the lane for a basket before Tomas fed Kinsey on the break for a slam that restored Fenerbahce's untouchable lead at 69-53. Valanciunis kept rebounding and got 2 free throws out of it, but Vidmar was just as persistent for Fenerbahce, with 4 more points of his own. A Kinsey steal and slam just about sealed the outcome. Valanciunis continued to impress without another basket to secure a double-double, but the teenager soon after fouled out. In the closing minutes, a Lavrinovic layup gave FB Ulker its biggest lead, 82-62. L. Rytas made a late charge with a three from Newley, a steal by Arvydas Siksnius and a Newley layup, but it was too little, too late as the hosts celebrated an opening night win.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010