Fenerbahce Ulker downed SLUC Nancy 53-73
Fenerbahce Ulker got much closer to clinch a Top 16 spot in Group A by downing Sluc Nancy 53-73 at Palais des Sports Jean Weille, France on Wednesday. Fenerbahce moved up to 5-3 and will make it to the Top 16 with another win - even when it could also go through it loses its two remaining games. Nancy dropped to 3-5 and will probably need to win its two remaining games in other to advance. James Gist led the winners with 16 points. Bojan Bogdanovic and Curtis Jerrells each added 14 for Fenerbahce. Jamal Shuler had 17 points for Nancy while Akin Akingbala added 11. Bogdanovic shined in the first quarter to give Fenerbahce a 15-22 margin after 10 minutes. Fenerbahce managed to keep a 25-32 edge at halftime but Shuler and newcomer Kenny Gregory allowed Nancy to get as close as 40-41 late in the third quarter. A 0-10 run that Kaya Peker capped with a layup allowed Fenerbahce to boost its margin to 40-51 early in the fourth quarter and an outstanding Jerrells shined late in the game to lead his team to a well-deserved, convincing road win.
Akingbala got Nancy going with a layup but a jump hook by Gasper Vidmar gave Fenerbahce a 1-2 lead. Nancy tried to play at a very high rhythm early but could not find open shots. Meanwhile, an easy basket by Vidmar gave the guests an 1-4 lead. Shuler struck from downtown but Gist copied him in the other end. Shuler scored again but a floating jumper by Omer Onan and an alleyoop layup by Gist boosted Fenerbahce's lead to 6-11. Bogdanovic buried a three-pointer and Gist provided a highlight with an outstanding pur-back slam. Nancy tried a more athletic lineup with Papa Amagou and Gregory on court now. Gregory scored down low but Onan answered with a driving basket. Abdel Kader Sylla hit free throws but Bogdanovic scored in penetration to restore a double-digit Fenerbahce lead, 10-20. Amagou fired in a three-pointer and added free throws but an outstanding Bogdanovic gave his team a 15-22 margin after 10 minutes.
Sylla kept pacing Nancy with a jump hook early in the second quarter, as the hosts kept Fenerbahce scoreless for more than 2 minutes. Coach Neven Spahija called timeout and started to run its offense through point forward Emir Preldzic. Peker hit free throws but Gregory kept Nancy within 19-24. Fener kept playing with high intensity on defense, drawing offensive fouls and collecting steals. A three-pointer by Roko Ukic soon gave the guests a 19-27 margin. Amagou rescued Nancy with free throws that Onan matched with his trademark floating layup off the glass. Adrien Moerman found his first points around the basket but Fenerbahce kept full control of the game by powering the boards and dominating the game tempo through Ukic. Akingbala stepped up with a put-back layup that Vidmar matched with a jump hook to fix the score at 25-32 as both teams headed back to the locker rooms.
Shuler struck from downrown immediately after the break but Bogdanovic followed a layup with free throws to give the guests a 28-36 margin. Akingbala scored around the basket, as Gist tried to change the game momentum with a huge block on Moerman. Akingbala kept pacing Nancy with another basket but he didn't find any help around until Moerman stepped up with a fast break layup that made Fenerbahce stop the game at 34-36. Bogdanovic shined with a driving layup but Gregory answered with a close basket. Gist buried a three-pointer but free throws by Shuler and a layup by Gregory brought Nancy even closer, 40-41. Jerrells sank a jumper and a tip-in by Gist gave Fenerbahce some fresh air, 40-45. Gist kept his momentum going with free throws and a driving basket by Jerrells allowed Fenerbahce to make it a nine-point game, 40-49, at the end of the third quarter.
Peker scored around the basket early in the fourth quarter to cap a 0-10 Fener run and made it a double-digit game, 40-51. Shuler tried to ignite the hosts' comeback with a fast break layup but Fenerbahce kept controlling its defensive board. Jerrells and Akingbala split free throws, as the guests kept started to use long possessions to run the game clock down. Oguz Savas, who had been scoreless until now, hit a mid-range jumper and Jerrells soon made it a 13-point game, 43-56. Moerman and Preldzic traded baskets, as Nancy called timeout at 45-58. Fenerbahce kept shining on defense and free throws by Preldzic sealed the outcome, 45-60, with over 4 minutes to go. Akingbala hit free throws but a layup by Peker and a floating jumper by Jerrells allowed a few dozens of Fenerbahce fans in the stands to celebrate that their team is much closer to seal a Top 16 spot in the most balanced regular season group ever in Turkish Airlines Euroleague history.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011