By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Valencia grabbed a key win in its pursuit for a playoffs spot by defeating Fenerbahce Beko 66 – 52 at home to improve to 15 – 14. The Turkish side registered its poorest scoring performance this season and is now 17 – 12.
Sam Van Rossom paced Valencia overall with 17 points and five rebounds. Mike Tobey had 12 points and Martin Hermansson 11 for the Tarnoja that led from near start to finish and were particularly effective in the fourth quarter which they won 21 – 13.
“All the games we have to play now until the end of the season are finals for us. Step by step,” Van Rossom said. “This is the first one, we’ve got five more so we’ve got to keep taking it game by game and try to win as many as possible. I think our defense was the key of the game. It was a low scoring game at both ends of the floor. Both teams put a great effort on defense so it definitely was the key today.”
Jan Vesely (15 points) and Nando De Colo (14 points) were the only Fenerbahce players in double figures. Despite its offensive struggles, the Turkish team was competitive until the final minutes. With the score 56 – 50 and 3:33 to play, Hermansson delivered a big 3-pointer and then Van Rossom put his team up by nine with a floater while their opponents missed several opportunities to remain close.
Fenerbahce was without guard Marko Guduric for the first time this EuroLeague season. The 2017 champions had a 12 – 1 record since his arrival.
That was the word that Fenerbahce coach Igor Kokoskov used to described his team’s offense. He held nothing back on his criticism, including when it came to his coaching.
“First of all, I would like to congratulate Valencia on this win,” Kokoskov said. “I am not taking anything away from Valencia when I say that we lost the game more than they won it. I think we beat ourselves. Our offense was pathetic. I think the way I was coaching our offense tonight wasn’t good, especially not good enough to win a EuroLeague game – 18 turnovers, 12 assists, it just tells you about our efficiency. The shooting percentages were not there, so in a game like this, I think offense was a problem. Our offense was scoring for them, bad turnovers were leading into fast break points, so again, we cannot put that much pressure on our defense. The energy was there, but we have to play well, too. Our offense was a problem – again, I think we beat ourselves by not really executing well and with the turnovers that we made tonight.”
Photo: EuroLeague Basketball