Fenerbahce overwhelms Zalgiris in Istanbul 104
Fenerbahce Istanbul extended its home-court winning streak to 11 games dating back to last season with a 78-61 rout of Zalgiris Kaunas on Thursday at Ulker Sports and Event Hall.
The Turkish champs improved to 16-2 to remain atop the standings. Kostas Sloukas produced 14 points and 6 assists for the winners, Melih Mahmutoglu also scored 14 without missing a shot and Jan Vesely tallied 13 points and 12 rebounds for the winners, who made a season-high 72.2% of their two-pointers.
Brandon Davies scored 12 for Zalgiris, which lost its fourth straight game and slipped to 7-11.
More than 2 and a half minutes passed before Arturas Milaknis scored the game’s first points with a three-pointer. And nearly 2 more minutes ticked off the clock before Ali Muhammed’s jumper got Fenerbahce on the scoreboard. Vesely’s steal led to a Sloukas layup and then the big man scored inside to cap an 8-0 Fenerbahce run for an 8-5 lead. Nicolo Melli starred next with a triple followed by a steal that led to an Erick Green layup, a 15-9 advantage and a Zalgiris timeout. Deon Thompson came off the bench for his Zalgiris debut and promptly nailed a jumper, but free throws by Sloukas and Marko Guduric lifted the hosts to 19-11 after 10 minutes.
Davies committed an unsportsmanlike foul against Vesely, which sent him to the bench with 3 personal fouls and allowed Fenerbahce to take its lead to double figures. Sloukas completed a 10-0 run that bridged the first two quarters with a jumper for a 14-point cushion. Though Laurynas Birutis’s put-back slam ended the Zalgiris drought, Fenerbahce continued to pull away and led 34-18 after Sloukas free throws midway through the second quarter. Mahmutoglu delighted the fans with a hook shot to double the score, 38-19. Paulius Jankunas scored in the paint to make it 43-29 at the break.
Zalgiris kept pace with the hosts at the start of the second half and drew within 49-39 on Marius Grigonis’s runner. Fenerbahce wouldn’t let Zalgiris any closer and Aaron White’s free throw left the score at 57-44 through three quarters.
Davies scored the first two buckets of the fourth quarter and Nate Wolters made it 57-50 as the arena fell silent. Mahmutoglu penetrated for a layup that revived the hosts and soon added a three-pointer. A Mahmutoglu steal gifted Vesely a layup and a 66-53 lead with 5 minutes to play and Zalgiris never threatened again.