Fenerbahçe sweeps Real Madrid to head for Final Four
AA photoIstanbul club Fenerbahçe has completed a three-game sweep of the defending champions Real Madrid to be in the first team to book a place in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four in Berlin.
Fenerbahçe, which won the third game in Madrid 75-63 on April 19 night, heads to Berlin for its second straight Final Four appearance, while Madrid be missing the European club basketball’s showpiece event after making three straight championship game appearances.
Bogdan Bogdanovic scored all of his 17 points in the second half to pace the winner, while Ekpe Udoh posted 15 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks.
Madrid trailed by three points at halftime before jumping ahead early in the third quarter. However, Bogdanovic scored eight in a 0-14 charge and coach Zlejko Obradovic’s men never trailed again.
The lead grew to 17 in the fourth quarter. A pair of Sergio Llull triples gave the home team hope, but Luigi Datome’s chasedown block of Jaycee Carroll killed the momentum and Fenerbahçe coasted to the victory.
Bobby Dixon added 14 points, Datome scored 13 and Nikola Kalinic posted 11 points and 8 rebounds for the winners. Sergio Rodriguez led Madrid with 15 points and Gustavo Ayon tallied 14 points and 14 rebounds in defeat.
Obradovic, the only coach to have led four different clubs to the title and the first to place six different ones in the Final Four, said he had told his players to play the game as if it were a final.
“I am very happy, we played three great games,” he told euroleague.net.
“Before the last one I said to my players that we must view the third game as a final, even if we were 2-0 over Real Madrid. In the first half both teams played very nervous. We played good defense as we did in Istanbul. Then, players like Datome, Dixon and Bogdanovic helped us a lot in the second half. I just must say congratulations to Real Madrid for the basketball it showed in the last seasons.”
Fenerbahçe players players sounded upbeat for Berlin.
“Congratulations to my team and my teammates, but it is not over,” Bogdanovic said after the game, praising the chemistry in the squad.
“We are here for more. In Final Four there are no favorites. On some seasons the outsiders won the title,” he added.
Dixon is also hungry to bring Turkey its first Final Four trophy.
“We got one of our goals for this season, to be part of the Final Four again and we were able to do it against one of the best teams in Europe, so it means a lot for us,” he said. “But it is not enough. We need two games more.”
Fenerbahçe will travel to Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena alongside CSKA Moscow, Laboral Kutxa and either Barcelona or Lokomotiv Kuban for the Final Four games between May 13 and 16.