The EuroLeague home debut in a Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul uniform for Nando De Colo turned into a career-night and a performance to remember. Fenerbahce fans celebrated the team's first win, an 87-80 decision over KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, and had one man especially to thank as De Colo came off the bench to deliver one of the best scoring performances in the EuroLeague this century. In less than 31 minutes on the floor, he netted a career-high 39 points on a career-best 12-of-15 two-point shooting and accumulated a performance index rating of 44, another career-high and the highest in the competition in more than four years.
It marked the most points scored in a single game since Bobby Brown tied the competition record with 41 points in January of 2013. De Colo's 39 points are also tied for the eighth-most in the EuroLeague this century.
"Nando is an amazing player, he was proving it for how many years before," the reigning MVP Jan Vesely praised his new teammate. "I am happy he is here and we can help each other win games."
And De Colo sure did help Fenerbahce win. With his 39 points and 3 assists, he had his hand directly in more than half of his team's points in this game.
It is hard to say what was more impressive, the balanced scoring over all four quarters that kept sparking Fenerbahce's offense or the variety of ways which De Colo used to keep adding to his tally. De Colo nailed a pair of three-pointers in scoring 10 points in the first quarter, added 12 points in the second by running fast breaks and driving through the lane and taking it to the rim. He also hit a last-second jumper to beat the buzzer that got him to 22 points at the break. De Colo then scored 9 more to surpass his previous career-high and reach 31 points with 1:43 left in the third quarter.
There was plenty of time to catch the record, but with Fenerbahce in control and holding a double-digit lead, De Colo spent a portion of the fourth quarter on the bench. His reverse layup plus foul got him to 39 points entering the final minute, but De Colo missed a free throw and did not attempt another shot, leaving the single-game scoring record held by Brown, Alphonso Ford, Carlton Myers and Kaspars Kambala, intact.
"We never could stop Nando De Colo," Baskonia coach Velimir Perasovic stated the obvious after the contest. "Not only small guys, but in pick-and-roll situations, he found an easy way to make pull-ups and he killed us."
That is an accurate summary of events!