Fenerbahce Ulker, whose 89-87 double-OT home win against Union Olimpija
Fenerbahce Ulker won its third consecutive game in Group C by edging Union Olimpija 89-87 at Abdi Ipecki Sports Hall in Istanbul, Turkey, on Thursday night, in just third-ever double-overtime thriller of the decade. FB Ulker joins a three-way tie for first place in Group C along with Tau Ceramica and Lottomatica Roma, each with a 3-1 record. Meanwhile, Olimpija dropped to 0-4. Emir Preldzic paced the winners with a Euroleague career-high 18 points. Oguz Savas added 15, Mirsad Turkcan posted a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds and Marques Green and Rasim Basak each had 13 for Fener. Basak also had his biggest Euroleague scoring night. Vlado Ilievski led Olimpija with 22 points, Saso Ozbolt added 20 and Miha Zupan had 10 for the guests. FB Ulker led 66-59 with seven minutes to go, but Ozbolt led the guests' comeback, including a running triple to send the game to overtime, 73-73. Damjan Rudez shined with a driving layup as Olimpija forced a second extra period, 81-81. Free throws by Turkcan and Green allowed Fener to take an 89-87 edge and Ilievski missed a running shot at the buzzer.
Fenerbahce opened the game with a 2-1-2 zone defense, which Mirza Begic beat with an easy layup. Preldzic matched it with a jumper, but Ilievski answered from downtown for a 2-5 Olimpija edge. FB Ulker switched to man-to-man defense, but Begic stayed unstoppable with a jump hook. Fenerbahce struggled to hit outside shots until Basak buried a corner triple. Savas soon added a put-back layup to give the hosts their first lead, 8-7. Ozbolt shined with a driving basket that Ilievski followed with a stop-and-pop jumper to put Olimpija back ahead, 8-11. Preldzic took over with a wild driving layup, igniting an 8-0 run in which Turkcan and Green added fast break baskets for a 16-11 Fener lead. Vladimir Golubovic stepped up with a layup, but Basak made free throws, sank a four-meter jumper and nailed a big three-pointer to boost the hosts' margin to 24-15. A mid-range jumper by Zupan brought Olimpija within 24-17 after 10 minutes.
Damir Mrsic nailed a three-pointer right at the start of the second quarter, but Ilievski made free throws and Golubovic added a power layup to help Olimpija find its scoring rhythm. Savas and Golubovic traded baskets before a fast break layup by Jonathan Wallace brought the guests back in the game at 29-25. Savas paced FB Ulker with 4 quick points, but Golubovic and Rudez kept Olimpija within 33-29. Wallace took over with a seven-meter bomb, while a jump hook by Zupan completed the guests' comeback, 33-34, after a 0-9 run. Smith provided a highlight with a reverse layup, as Fener switched back to zone defense. Zupan stayed on fire with a floating layup which Turkcan matched with an off-balance jumper. Smith kept shining with a fast break dunk, but Wallace kept the guests as close as 39-38. Savas and Smith combined to make 4 of 6 free throws, but Begic and Golubovic brought Olimpija within 43-42 at halftime.
Marko Milic made free throws right after the break only to see Prelzdic immediately answer from downtown for a 46-44 Fener edge. Rudez joined the three-point shootout and Ilievski banked in a five-meter jumper to provide another lead change, 46-49. Turkcan found space for an open three-pointer, which Green followed with a layup off a steal. Milic copied him soon after that. The hosts were the more aggressive team at both ends now, but Fenerbahce did not find good options in offense. Preldzic took over with a wild move in the low post, but Ozbolt tied the game again, 54-54, on a layup-plus-foul. Preldzic kept pacing FB Ulker with consecutive driving baskets and Basak added with free throws to give the hosts some fresh air at 60-54. Green sank a jumper that capped an 8-0 run, but Ilievski answered to give Olimpija some hope, 62-56, at the end of the third quarter.
Savas shined with a jump hook early in the fourth period, but Ozbolt answered from downtown to give Olimpija some hope at 64-59. Savas insisted with free throws, however Ilievski buried a three-pointer to keep the guests within 66-62 with seven minutes to go. FB Ulker called timeout and tried a zone defense, which Ozbolt punished with a triple that made it a one-point game. Begic followed a free throw with a layup to complete the guests' comeback, 66-68, with less than four minutes remaining. FB Ulker had been scoreless for almost five minutes while Ozbolt capped a 0-11 Olimpija run with foul shots. Preldzic scored in penetration and soon added a running three-pointer for a 71-70 FB Ulker edge with 2:10 to go. Smith shined with a put-back layup, as Ilievski and Zupan missed key three-point shots. Smith also missed from downtown bfore Ozbolt grabbed a rebound, raced downcourt and sank a wild running triple for a 73-73 tie with 13 seconds to go. Fener had the final possession in regulation but Smith missed a corner triple at the buzzer.
Zupan was first to score in the extra period with a jump hook but Mrsic answered from downtown for a 76-75 FB Ulker edge. Ilievski made a free throw, but Green buried a big triple off the dribble to put the hosts back ahead, 79-76. Ilievski joined the three-point shootout, however Turkcan scored around the basket to restore an 81-79 FB edge. Ozbolt, Mrsic and Ilievski missed from downtown, but Olimpija got the ball back with 18.4 seconds to go. Rudez scored in penetration after an Olimpija timeout to tie things at 81-81 with 6.5 seconds remaining. Ilievski collected a steal but did not find Rudez in time to take a shot.
Both teams struggled to score early in the second overtime until Ozbolt stepped up with free throws, which Mrsic erased at the other end for an 83-83 tie. Ilievski was next on the foul line, but made just his second attempt. Green sank a key three-pointer to provide another lead change, 86-84, with two minutes remaining. Ilievski answered from downtown, before Turkcan and Smith missed at the other end. Ilievski could not score either. Free throws by Turkcan put Fener ahead, 88-87, with 37 seconds to go. Smith picked up a huge block on Begic and Green went next to the line with 10.7 seconds remaining. He made only his second attempt, but Ilievski missed a running shot at the buzzer.
Thursday, November 13, 2008