Euroleague: Fenerbahce and Olympiacos hit back

EuroleagueAfter a busy midweek schedule, there were only three games in the Euroleague Top 16 on Friday, but as usual the competition did not disappoint. Indeed, these are the best teams on the continent, so we are always assured quality and action that goes down to the wire.

Friday lived up to that billing with some excellent hoops. Olympiacos Piraeus got back on track and halted Laboral Kutxa Vitoria’s charge in Group F, while Zalgiris Kaunas picked up a much needed win over Brose Baskets Bamberg.

There was a single game in Group E, which saw Fenerbahce get back on track with home success over Crvena Zvezda Belgrade. We will start with that game in Istanbul.

Group E

Fenerbahce Istanbul vs. Crvena Zvezda Belgrade, 72-65
Fenerbahce was handed its first defeat of the Euroleague Top 16 last week against Panathinaikos, but the Turkish heavyweight responded in Round 9 with a home win over Crvena Zvezda. The win puts Fener on 8-1 at the top of the Group E standings, while the Belgrade guests hold in fourth at 5-4. These teams have been frequents opponents this season, with this being their fourth meeting.

Fenerbahce had won all four of those games after tonight’s success, but were trailing 25-34 through halftime. The hosts responded in the third act with a blazing 24-6 run that turned the game around and ultimately made the difference.

Luigi Datome topped the win with 27 points, while Bogdan Bogdanovic added 16 points and 7 rebounds.

Maik Zirbes led Belgrade with 11 points and 7 boards, followed by Marko Simonovic and Tarence Kinsey with 10 points apiece.

Group F

Olympiacos Piraeus vs. Laboral Kutxa Vitoria, 82-68
Olympiacos has been struggling in recent weeks (one win from its last six), but here the Greek giant turned it on to defeat high flying Laboral Kutxa. Indeed, the Spanish visitors have won their last five and have cruised to the upper reaches of Group F. This loss keeps Laboral Kutxa in second (6-3), while Olympiacos improved to 4-5. A 44-30 advantage through the long break was enough to give the hosts control, and Olympiacos rarely looked trouble for the remainder.

Georgios Printezis pushed the win with 17 points, followed by Vassilis Spanoulis with 14 points and 8 assists.

Ionannis Bourousis was hot again for Laboral Kutxa Vitoria with 19 points and 7 rebounds.

Zalgiris Kaunas vs. Brose Baskets Bamberg, 75-73
From 1-7 at the foot of the table, Zalgiris desperately needed a win in the Euroleague Top 16, and the Lithuanian giant managed it with a victory over Brose Baskets Bamberg (3-6). 25 points in the first act gave the hosts the necessary platform, and by halftime Kaunas led 41038 after Bamberg fought back. From there is stayed tight and the home team narrowly survived by holding on in a losing fourth frame.

Paulius Jankunas paced the win with 17 points and 13 rebounds, the only double-double of the night.

Nikos Zisis was hot in the losing effort with 25 points, followed by Bradley Wanamaker with 14 points.

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