The Israeli guard netted the game-winning shot on a career-best night.
Madar rose to the moment to help Fenerbahce beat Real Madrid
There are not going to be many moments in Yam Madar’s career that will top what he achieved on Thursday evening. With Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul trailing 98-99 in the final seconds of overtime against the 10-0 Real Madrid, the Israeli guard’s masterful layup to make it 100-99 took the roof off Ulker Sports and Events Hall.
That was the first game-winner in Madar’s 48-game EuroLeague career, and what a time to do it: up against the reigning champion, which had not lost all season. Madar is still in the process of making a name for himself at Fenerbahce, following a summer move from Partizan Mozzart Bet Belgrade, but he’s already earned himself a place in the hearts of many fans with his heroics against Real.
A career-best night
The 22-year-old Madar finished the night with a personal high of 17 points, beating the 15 he scored on two occasions last season with Partizan. In fact, this was just the second time that he has reached double digits in points since arriving at Fenerbahce. In addition to his scoring outburst, Madar grabbed 1 rebound, dished 2 assists, grabbed 2 steals and committed zero turnovers.
Curiously, Madar didn’t see a single second on the floor during the first quarter as Real blew Fenerbahce away, 16-29, but it didn’t take long for the pestering guard to make an impact in the second. His steal early in the quarter led to a fastbreak and a couple of free throws for Scottie Wilbekin, before he went on to score 7 points as Fenerbahce kept it close, 36-42, approaching halftime.
Madar followed up his first-half performance with a couple of three-pointers in the third, as well as the quarter’s final bucket, but Fenerbahce still found itself 8 points down, 59-67. Nevertheless, through three quarters, Madar was leading his team with 15 points, in addition to having his 1 rebound, 2 assists and 2 steals.
In the fourth quarter, Madar played just the first 2:26 and failed to make an impact, yet his teammates stepped up on this occasion by outscoring Real 28-20 to force an overtime period. And that is where Madar put the icing on the cake.
Miraculously, Madar entered the game with just 6 seconds ago due to his reputation as a steals specialist, with Real inbounding the ball from its end of the court. The Fenerbahce players pressurized Facundo Campazzo, who had a career night himself with 33 points, and he threw the ball to Marko Guduric. Perhaps it would have been easy for Guduric to shoot, but no.
Instead, he found the cutting Madar, who drove to the rim and sent a high-arching layup off the glass that went in, sending the crowd inside Ulker Sports and Events Hall into raptures.
It would be easy to talk himself up after playing the role of hero, but Madar instead kept it cool afterward: “I was just trying to see what I can do to get a basket. I knew we needed this basket to win, so I was just trying to get it.”
And get it he did. In just his second EuroLeague season, Madar showed on Thursday evening that he has what it takes to step up in the crucial moments, which can only be good news for Coach Itoudis.