Galatasaray advances to Euroleague Top 16 stage with key win over Unicaja Malaga
Galatasaray's Furkan Aldemir (2nd-R) tries to stop Unicaja Malaga's Rafael Hettsheimeir (R) the Euroleague Group C basketball match at the Abdi Ipekci sport hall in Istanbul on Dec. 5. AFP photoGalatasaray has sealed a key 78-70 victory on Dec. 5 over Spanish rivals of Unicaja Malaga at their home court of Abdi İpekçi securing its place among Euroleague’s “crème de la crème” by advancing to the Top 16 stage.
Despite the many of its players suffering serious injuries, the Lions improve 5-3 in the Group C distancing itself with Malaga, which dropped to 3-5. It would be Galatasaray’s second appearance in the Top 16 stage in their second participation to Europe’s elite basketball competition. They also join archrivals Fenerbahçe, who had already secured a place two weeks ago.
The Istanbul side battled to snare a victory as the Spanish attempted several comebacks in the second and third quarters. Galatasaray entered the last quarter with a 55-53 lead and managed to increase the margin with big points from its playmaker Ender Arslan and young pivot Furkan Aldemir
Playmaker Carlos Arroyo led Galatasaray Liv Hospital with 22 points and 5 assists, well-assisted by fellow playmaker Arslan, who tallied 17 points. Aldemir deputized successfully for Pops Mensah-Bonsu, the Euroleague leader in total rebounds suspended for three games due to a brawl during the Olympiacos game, grabbing a total of 12 rebounds and scoring 8 points.
Carlos Suarez netted 16 points for the Andalusians in defeat as Nik Caner-Medley added 14 points and Zoran Dragic chipped 10 points.
Anadolu Efes could join Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray by securing a Top 16 seat with a victory over Brose Basket Bamberg on Dec. 6. Also on Dec. 6, the Yellow Canaries will challenge the Russian powerhouse of CSKA Moscow in a thrilling road game.