Fenerbahçe takes Moscow, Efes fails to secure Top 16 after succumbing at home
CSKA Moscow's Sonny Weems (R) fights for the ball with Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul's Bojan Bogdanovic during their Euroleague group A basketball match in Moscow on Dec. 6. AFP photoFenerbahçe consolidated its first place in the Euroleague Group A with a hard-fought 74-78 road victory in the Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow’s fortress on Dec. 6. The Yellow Canaries, only beaten last week by Barcelona, confirmed they will be a hard nut to crack in the Top 16 stage under the helm of laureate Serbian Coach Zeljko Obradovic.
The Istanbul side stayed in front during most part of the first two quarters, entering the break with a 41-35 lead. They then managed to overturn a Muscovite comeback in the third quarter after a wild last period, where both teams pushed their rivals to the edge. It was ultimately the visitors who survived with big shots from its two stars, Linas Kleiza and Bojan Bogdanovic. The Lithuanian fired from downtown to reduce the gap to one point while another three pointer from the Croatian gave back the lead to Fenerbahçe 69-71.
The duo combined to pace Fenerbahçe Ülker’s attack with Bogdanovic scoring 18 points and Kleiza adding 13. Nemanja Bejelica and Luca Zoric came from the bench to contribute 10 and 8 points respectively.
CSKA’s American forward Sonny Weems led his team in defeat with 20 points, while Jeremy Pargo scored 15 points. Serbian playmaker Milos Teodosic, who had an unusual scoreless game against the Yellow Canaries in Istanbul, finished with 14 points but missed crucial shots during the last quarter.
With the result, Fenerbahçe increases to 7-1 in the standings, while CSKA remains third dropping to 5-3. Barcelona (6-2) is second after edging Nanterre 78-82 on the road. The French stay fourth despite dropping to 3-5.
Anadolu Efes succumb to ravenous run
Meanwhile Anadolu Efes lost an opportunity to secure their qualification for the Top 16 stage after losing 78-89 at home against Brose Bamberg. The Germans managed to erase a 14-point deficit at the break with a ravenous 23-4 run during the last quarter, led by Anton Gavel and Novica Velickovic.
Jamar Smith came from the bench to lead the Germans with 18 points, while other six players scored 9 points or more. Kostas Vasiliadis’18 points and Scotty Hopson’s 17 points where not enough for Efes, who dropped to 4-4 but are still third in Group B with the same points as Emporio Armani Milan, second. Real Madrid competes in its own lane, leading the group with eight wins out of eight games.