Galatasaray through to Euro Top 16
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Galatasaray’s Luksa Andric tries to score against Union Olimpija. AA photoGalatasaray Medical Park became the third Turkish team to advance to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16 stage after beating Union Olimpija 80-59 on Dec. 14.
Slovenian guard Jaka Lakovic had 16 points to lead the Istanbul team, who is having its debut in the competition, while Jamon Gordon dished out eight assists.
Galatasaray improved to 4-5 to grab the final Top 16 berth from Group D and eliminated Olimpija along the way.
At Olimpija, Deon Thompson led all scorers with 21 points, while Boris Rothbart, with 18 points, became the only other Union player to score in double figures.
Despite the big win, Galatasaray Medical Park had problems in the first two periods of the game, which ended 39-35 for the home team.
Galatasaray Medical Park forward Cevher Özer acknowledged that the team found its rhythm in the second half.
“We struggled to stop their big guys, especially in the first half,” he was quoted as saying in the official Euroleague website. “But in the second half, we played good defense and kept on playing carefully in offense.”
“We are happy to win and also to reach the Top 16,” Özer added. “It’s a great honor for me to be a part of this great team. We will challenge until the end in the Top 16 and try to move forward.”
Coach Oktay Mahmuti was also proud with the results.
“We are happy and honored to be in the Top 16 in our very first season in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague,” he said. “It was really a very important step for us.
“I’m happy for three reasons. First of all, I’m pleased because of my players’ sacrifice and performance since the beginning of the season. We had ups and downs, but it was really very important to move in to the Top 16.
“I’m also happy for Turkish basketball. All three Turkish teams meet [in Top 16].
“And third, I’m also proud of being the head coach of this team.”