Fener suffers EA7 loss, bows out of Euroleague
EA7 Emporio Armani Milan effectively ended Fenerbahçe Ülker’s Turkish Airlines Euroleague season with an 85-72 victory on Feb. 29 at Mediolanum Forum in the fashion capital.
Malik Hairston poured in a career-high 27 points to lead Armani, which finished its Turkish Airlines Euroleague season on a high note with three straight wins and third place in Group G with a 3-3 record. The Turkish champs would have advanced to the playoffs from second place in the group with a win, but the loss sent Unics Kazan to the playoffs instead.
“We’re disappointed for our elimination, but I would like to congratulate to Milano,” Fenerbahçe Ülker coach Neven Spahija was quoted as saying on the Euroleague website. “They played a very good game, we came here with big pressure, and we did not find the way to play easy basketball on either side of the court. They had very clear ideas from the beginning, and had an outstanding performance from Mailk Hairston. Those were the main reasons for their win.”
Fenerbahçe Ülker guard Engin Atsür claimed pressure got the better of the Istanbul team.
““There was big pressure on us, because we needed to win this game, first of all, and then wait for the Panathinaikos result. We were unable to play good defense, this was the main problem, and is very difficult to win on the road if you play bad defense and allow your opponents to score so many points,” he said. “Milano did a good job, they played much better than before and with nothing to lose, for them it was easier. Our percentage were also poor because we were nervous because of the pressure we had, and we are really disappointed for the result, and for our fans too.”
Preldzic scores 15 points for Fener
After a close first quarter, Armani took a modest lead in the second and surged ahead in the third. The lead peaked at 16 in the fourth as Milan finished its season in style.
Alessandro Gentile added 12 points before fouling out, J.R. Bremer scored 10 and Omar Cook tallied 10 points and 8 assists. Emir Preldzic paced Fenerbahçe with 15 points and 5 assists, Bojan Bogdanovic netted 14 and Roko Ukic scored 12 and James Gist posted 12 points and 9 rebounds in defeat.