Euroleague Top 16: Olympiacos sinks Fenerbahce
The first round of the Euroleague Top 16 was completed on Friday night as three games took place with one game from Group E and two from Group F.
The most exciting clash on paper between Olympiacos and Fenerbahce proved to be an entertaining battle on the court as two of the competitions best teams went head to head in Group E. Reigning champs Olympiacos emerged victorious to remain unbeaten in this season´s Euroleague and to stay on course for a three peat of titles.
In Group F an all-Russian contest saw past winners CSKA Moscow get the Euroleague Top 16 off to a good start with a comfortable road win over Lokomotiv Kuban. German debutants Bayern Munich continued to impress at the first time of asking in the Euroleague by defeating Lithuanian powerhouse Zalgiris on the road.
Olympiacos vs. Fenerbahce, 95-82
Greek giants Olympiacos took an important home win over fellow Euroleague contender Fenerbahce in a clash of the heavyweights. The hosts join Real Madrid as the only teams left unbeaten in this year´s competition and Olympiacos fans will be dreaming of a third consecutive title. While Fenebahce´s early season form has waned the club will still be among the favourites to progress from the Euroleague Top 16.
Early in the first quarter the hosts kept the defense tight and collected baskets in the opposite arc to take an early 12-4 lead in the game. While Fenerbahce tried to pick up momentum it was a tough first 10 minutes for the Turkish team as the quarter ended 27-19. It seemed as though Olympiacos was on course for a comfortable ride in the game, but Fenerbahce responded in the second quarter to reduce the lead and head into halftime down by just 7 points (47-40). Fenerbahce started to reel off points in the paint during the third quarter but the visitors were left frustrated by an Olympiacos attack that kept regaining possession and finding baskets. With 30 minutes of play accounted for the home team still held an advantage with the scoreboard reading 62-56. The away team kept working the hoop and gradually chipped away at the lead early in the 4th to reduce the score to just 78-75. However, Olympiacos showed their champions quality by nailing seven three pointers in the period to make the score comfortable winding down the clock.
Vassilis Spanoulis was in typically unstoppable form for a dangerous Olympiacos team and notched 28 points, 9 assists, and 5 rebounds. Stratos Perperoglou proved to be the game winner for the hosts with 15 of his 21 points coming in the last 10 minutes, while Matthew Lojeski´s 14 points also propelled the Reds to victory.
Emir Preldzic had a good all round game for Fenerbahce by tabbing 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. Bojan Bogdanovic was once again a standout performer with 16 points and was joined by Luka Zoric with 13 and Nemanja Bjelica 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Olympiacos head coach Georgios Bartzokas highlighted the strong performance of his team as the hosts defeated one of the Regular Season´s best teams.
Watching the statistics I would like to underline that we had only 4 turnovers and we dished 20 assists, which is an impressive combination and proves the concentration and the altruism of our players. I think that we read very well the defensive tactics of Mr. Obradovic (Fener´s coach) and we played a very aggressive game.
Fenerbahce has struggled for form in recent weeks as the Turkish club has fallen to defeats at home and abroad. The club started the season on fire and is in the Euroleague Top 16 as one of the favourites, but head coach Zeljko Obradovic was eager to stress that this new team is a work in progress and expectations should be realistic.
First of all congratulations to Olympiacos for the win. They punished us for the stupid turnovers we committed and some bad offensive decisions. We tried to change some things during the game, but it didn’t work. Olympiacos played with concentration, will and character, because they are a proud team that has won two consecutive Euroleague titles. Spanoulis and Perperoglou played excellent. Our team was built this summer and we made only four practices and no preparation game before the start of the season, so it was not possible to keep playing in the same standard. There are a lot of things in our game which have to be improved.
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