Fenerbahce Ulker edged EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 65-63
Fenerbahce Ulker took a narrow lead into the fourth quarter and held on to beat EA7 Emporio Milan 65-63 in the opening game of Ulker Sports Arena in Istanbul on Wednesday. The hosts earned a critical first victory in Group G, while Milan dropped to 0-2. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 17 points for the winners, while Roko Ukic returned from injury to score 16 and Marko Tomas added 8. Kaya Peker contributed 6 points, along with 10 rebounds and 2 steals. Antonis Fotsis and Mason Rocca paced Armani with 16 points apiece, while Stefano Mancinelli added 13 and Drew Nicholas 9. Omar Cook dished out 8 assists. Milan had the chance to tie or take the lead in the final seconds, but Fotsis missed a three-point attempt. Statistically, Milan made a higher percentage of shots from the field but not from the foul line, which proved critical, as it hit only 9 of 18, while Fenerbahce made 15 of 21.
An exchange of two-pointers provided all the scoring in the first three minutes, as Fenerbahce’s Tomas hit a two-pointer from outside and Mancinelli tied the game 2-2 with a spin move under basket. Both offenses continued to struggle as the score moved to 6-6 after another layup by Mancinelli. Ukic and Alessandro Gentile swapped baskets in the paint, then foul shots by Omer Onan and Bogdanovic gave the hosts a 12-10 edge at the end of a low-scoring first quarter.
Nicholas drained the game’s first three-pointer, giving Milan a 12-13 lead to open the second quarter. Bogdanovic wasted no time answering with a triple of his own, then added a layup and foul shot to keep Fenerbahce out front 18-15. Ioannis Bourousis got into the scoring column with a laser from downtown, knotting the game at 18-18. Afer Oguz Savas converted a layup and foul shot, Mason Rocca got a put back on the offensive glass to advance the score to 21-20. A seesaw battle developed as Nicholas knocked down another triple, shifting the lead to Milan 21-23. Scoring resumed in the paint, with Sava leading the hosts, while the visitors got baskets from Rocca and Fotsis, setting the score at 25-27. After an exchange of foul shots, Ukic nailed a triple to give Fenerbahce a 30-28 halftime lead.
Tomas started things off with a two-pointer, giving the hosts a 32-28 margin, the biggest of the game. After a Mancinellli foul shot, Ukic hit a two-point jumper, bumping the lead to 34-29. A fast-break layup by Mancinellli and a triple by Fotsis knotted the game at 34-34. The teams exchanged baskets then the hosts took off on a 6-0 surge, as Peker hit a rainbow two-pointer, Ukic banked in a running two-pointer and Bogdanovic finished off a fast break with a dunk to give the hosts a 42-36 edge. Fotsis answered 4 points from the line with a layup, then Nicholas stepped back to bury a triple to end scoring for the quarter and cut the lead to 46-43.
Rocca opened with a basket in the paint, then Bogdanovic drilled a triple to put Fenerbahce out front 49-45. After a Mancinelli layup, Emir Preldzic and Peker added points in the paint for a 53-47 margin. Fotsis drained a triple, then Peker scored down low and Preldzic added another triple of his own to push the hosts out front 58-50. Ukic answered foul shots by Mancinellli by draining a fall away two-pointer for a 60-52 advantage. Fotsis stepped up again, sinking a three-pointer, then Rocca hit a foul shot to cut the deficit to 60-56. After two foul shots by Tomas, Rocca banked in a layup, setting the score at 62-58. But Ukic added two in the paint to put the hosts out front 64-58 with 1:23 to go. The scoring was limited to the foul line until Omar Cook hit from beyond the arc to pull with 65-63 with 28 seconds to go. Fenerbahce failed to score, giving Milan a last crack with 3 seconds left: Fotsis got a clear look from three-point range but it banged off the rim, giving the hosts the win, 65-63.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012