Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe happy with away victory
Ljubljana / Bilbao
Fenerbahce Ülker’s Swiss forward Thabo Sefolosha (L) vies with Bilbao Bizkaia Basket’s center D’Or Fischer during a Turkish Airlines Euroleague match at Bilbao Arena.
Galatasaray Medical Park and Fenerbahçe Ülker have clinched crucial away victories in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, improving their chances of making it to the Top 16.
Galatasaray beat Union Olimpija 70-79 in Ljubljana, Slovenia in Group D on Nov. 9, while Fenerbahçe Ülker grabbed its second consecutive win in Group A by narrowly defeating Bizkaia Bilbao Basket 70-73.
Galatasaray moved up to two victories and two losses and will at least tie for third place at the end of the group round, while Fenerbahçe also has the same record.
In his first-ever Euroleague start at age 20, Furkan Aldemir paced Galatasaray with 18 points on 7-of-9 two-pointers and 11 rebounds. Josh Shipp added 17 points, Preston Shumpert got 11, while Darius Songaila had 10 for Galatasaray. Aleksandar Capin led Olimpija with 15 points.
“It has been a great victory, considering that it was a very even game and either team could have won,” Galatasaray coach Oktay Mahmuti said after the match. “It’s never easy to win in an arena with such a beautiful atmosphere as we saw tonight and for that reason I am even more satisfied. We controlled the game well and even in the final quarter when the home team got back within a point of the lead, we answered back well.”
Guard Jaka Lakovic said the game was decided in the last five minutes.
“We chose our shots well in the decisive possessions and we played under control,” he said, the Euroleague’s official website reported.
“We did everything the way our coach told us. Since Union Olimpija is the team from my home town, I wish them the best and I hope we both qualify for the Top 16,” Lakovic added.
Bojan Bogdanovic led Fenerbahçe with 19 points after just 22 minutes. Curtis Jerrells added 15, while James Gist had 10 for the winning side. Marko Banic had 17 points for Bilbao, while Kostas Vasileadis added 15.
Fenerbahçe Ülker coach Neven Spahija said a couple of shots decided the outcome. “I want to congratulate my team, but Bilbao played really well too,” he said after the victory.
“I really didn’t see that my team played so much better than Bilbao Basket. What decided it in the end was one or two shots. The key for us was choosing four small players and Sefolosha, which made us better on defense and on the attack. Every win counts and we knew this game was going to be tight.”
Fenerbhaçe star Roko Ukic said the team still has room for improvement. “Even though we are feeling good about the win, the team isn’t where it wants to be,” he said. “But today we played great defense in the last quarter and that was the key. Neither team is satisfied, but today we’re lucky in the end, so we deserve the victory. It’s a very tight group, where anybody can win. We made mistakes against Caja Laboral, we lost at home and we needed this game. We also knew we needed a win away from home.”
Compiled from online reports by the Daily News staff in Istanbul.