Fenerbahce Top 16 revival in full swing
Fenerbahce´s Euroleague season is now officially back in the groove after the Turkish giant gunned down reigning champions Olympiacos 78-74 at home.
After a rocky start to the Top 16 phase, Fenerbahce has found form at the right time and has now won three games in a row. The team impressed during the Regular Season and will hope that a late spur towards the Last 8 can be achieved, and from there the Turkish giant will be one of the favourites.
First though Fener still needs to navigate a hugely tricky Group E that will go down to the wire it seems. The victory kept Fenerbahce in sixth place at 4-4, a record that is shared by three other clubs (up to Olympiacos in third). Speaking of Olympiacos, the Greeks have lost the last two and are going through a tough patch in the Euroleague. However, the current two-time champion is always a threat and will be confident heading into the second half of the Top 16 phase.
Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul vs. Olympiacos Piraeus, 78-74
Fenerbahce took an early advantage by storming to 5-0 thanks to a triple from Nemanja Bjelica and a layup courtesy of Bojan Bogdanovic. The hosts continued to press and recorded an early 9-0 run to take command of the game. Olympiacos finally got on the board when Bryant Dunston scored deep in the paint, quickly followed by a layup from Stratos Perperoglou. Bogdanovic cut the mini revival, but Georgios Printezis hit four points to put Olympiacos closed at 11-8. The Greek team continued the fight back when Perperoglou tied the game at 13-13. Despite the explosive start from Fener, it was the visitors who led after 10 minutes, with the score at 21-22.
Linas Kleiza would high score through the game and started the second period with a triple from downtown for Fenerbahce. Bo McCalebb extended the hosts´ slender lead before Kostas Sloukas nailed one from distance to make it tight again (28-27). Kleiza and Cedric Simmons struck to put a tiny amount of daylight between the teams, and Fener held on to the slender advantage and improved when the on fire Kleiza found net again (36-29). The home team stayed in charge for the remainder of the half, but Olympiacos did manage to cut the deficit to three points at the midway stage (41-38).
The second half started slow, with both teams failing to register early on. Sloukas was proving he could find the net at key moments though, and he opened the third by scoring for Olympiacos. Fenerbahce responded in fine fashion thanks to the ever dangerous Kleiza and McCalebb to make it a nine point game at 49-40. Olympiacos once again had to come back, but unlike in the first and second quarter the Greek visitors could not pen the home team in. After 30 minutes of play Fener had the advantage with the score board reading 59-51.
The visitors started the final frame with the right intentions, but scores by Bryant Dunston and Sloukas were cancelled by Melih Mahmutoglu and Bjelica. McCalebb sunk his two free throws to give the hosts a ten point lead at 66-56 and the last 10 minutes of play had proved decisive in the game. Olympiacos made it interesting heading down the stretch, but the Greek team could not muster the comeback that was needed and Fenerbahce took the win.
Kleiza was the highest scorer on the floor with 21 points for Fener, while Bo McCalebb was good for 20 points in the winning effort.
Stratos Perperoglou and Kostas Sloukas were consistent basket getters for Olympiacos, with both players picking up 17 points.
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