Fenerbahçe Ülker wins its group in Euroleague
CANTU, ItalyFenerbahçe Ülker joined fellow Turks in the Top 16 stage of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague after beating Bennet Cantu on Dec. 22.
With the 76-83 win, Fenerbahçe did not only reach the Top 16, climbed to first place in Group A.
Fenerbahçe Ülker joins Anadolu Efes and Galatasaray Medical Park in the Top 16. The draws for the stage will be made next week.
The Final Four of the competition will be played in Istanbul’s Sinan Erdem Dome next year, adding extra motivation to Turkish teams.
On Thursday, Oğuz Savaş scored a season-high 21 points to pace the Turkish champs, who improved to 6-4 in handing Cantu its first home loss of the season.
Cantu dropped to 5-5, but also heads to the next stage from third place in the group.
Bojan Bogdanovic added 19 with two crucial three-pointers for Fenerbahçe Ülker and Roko Ukic added 17 - 14 of which came in the second half. Giorgi Shermadini and Maarten Leunen scored 13 apiece for Cantu and veteran Denis Marconato added 10.
“We’re very happy to have clinched a berth in the Top 16,” Fenerbahçe Ülker coach Neven Spahija was quoted in the competition website. “It would have been a disaster not to play it, especially considering we’re going to play in our new arena in January. It was a very balanced, tough game, but in the last two minutes we were able to make the difference with our experience and size.”
Fenerbahçe Ülker forward Bojan Bogdanovic said the top spot was not as important as advancing to the Top 16. “The first place is good, but not so important,” he said. “You don’t think about this before starting a game, you think just about your goal.”