Fenerbahaçe Ülker eyes second victory against Maccabi
AA PhotoFenerbahçe Ülker hopes to extend its lead in a Turkish Airlines Euroleague playoffs tie against Maccabi Tel Aviv when the two sides meet for the second game in Istanbul on April 16.
The Istanbul club won the first game 80-72 on April 14, taking a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
The home side trailed for the first 29 minutes before taking control in a match that featured a 20-point swing in 11 minutes between the third and fourth quarters.
Alex Tyus put Maccabi up 46-56 with four minutes to go in the third quarter. Luka Zoric scored six straight points to trigger an 11-0 run and Andrew Goudelock gave Fenerbahçe its first lead, 59-58, late in the quarter.
Kenan Sipahi opened the fourth quarter with a three as Fener started to pull away. Jeremy Pargo had Maccabi within five points of Fener with five minutes remaining, but Jan Vesely scored eight points in the final four minutes – six of which came on put-back layups or dunks – to pave Fenerbaçe Ülker’s path to the win.
Czech center Vesely finished with a career-high 23 points, while Nemanja Bjelica added 13 points and 12 rebounds and Zoric scored 10 for the home side.
Pargo scored 19 first-quarter points and finished with 25, which was one short of Maccabi’s record in the playoffs, which he shares with two other players. Yogev Ohayon added 12 points, Alex Tyus tallied 11 points and 11 rebounds and Devin Smith scored 10 in defeat.
“I am very happy with the outcome but we must focus on Thursday’s game two immediately,” said Fenerbahçe coach Zeljko Obradovic.
“We still have a long way to reach the Final Four, it is only 1-0, but I want to thank the supporters for the magnificent atmosphere,” he added. “It is not just tonight; the fans have been at their best all season. I expect similar support on April 16.”
A victory on April 16 will give a major advantage to Fenerbahçe Ülker in the tie, which will rely on its successful away performances this season. With a 10-2 record, Fenerbahce was formidable away from home throughout the entire Turkish Airlines Euroleague campaign. It lost only one regular season game on the road, and one in the Top 16 part of the season.
Meanwhile in Moscow, a rampant CSKA blew away Panathinaikos 93-66 in the first game of their tie.
Serbian playmaker Milos Teodosic scored seven points as CSKA opened an 18-7 advantage, before the home side steamrolled its opponent to take a 56-27 first-half lead with trademark fast breaks and lethal long-range shooting.
The Russian giant buried nine of 14 three-pointers in the opening period and kept its foot on the pedal until the final whistle, with Teodosic racking up 18 points and eight assists.
“We played very maturely for most of the game but the players know this is only the first step in what could be a long series,” CSKA’s Greek coach Dimitris Itoudis told Euroleague television.
“Panathinaikos are better than this and we know they will fight back in the second game,” Itoudis added.