By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Fabien Causeur scored a game-high 16 points and Vincent Poirier drained the winning free-throws while setting a new club record for rebounds with 17 in a strong French combo that pushed Real Madrid to the 70 – 69 victory over Fenerbahce Beko at home.
“I just made 1 of 2 [free throws] before and we didn’t know who had the call, if it was really on me, if it was Rudy or me,” Poirieri said. “And all the team was ‘Rudy! Get Rudy!” so I tried to get Rudy [to go to the free-throw line] and then it was me. It was the moment to show up and I did it. I am glad I didn’t miss! That was a great feeling.”
With Fener up 66 – 69 and 42 seconds to play, Causeur scored a layup and following a missed 3-pointer by Pierria Henry, Poirier hit a pair from the free throw line to put Real Madrid up. On the other end, the Turkish side found a wide open 3-point shot with Marial Shayok but the Canadian wing was off target from the corner.
Thomas Heurtel (yes another French guy) added 10 points for Real. The Spanish powerhouse missed leading scorer and rebounder Edy Tavares (he had to attend the birth of his first child) and captain Sergio Llull (injury).
Nando De Colo (11 points points, six assists) and Jan Vesely (10 points) scored in double figures from Fenerbahce. Their team was leading by 11 points near the end of the first half but Real came back to make it a close affair in the fourth period. Rudy Fernandez handed the Blancos their first lead after the initial minutes when he scored a 3-pointer for the 61 – 60.
“The effort and willingness that both teams showed were exceptional,” Fenerbahce coach Sasha Djordjevic said. “In the decisive plays of the game, we didn’t have a clear head we needed to finish it in a way that we would have deserved, because we came here to compete and look for the victory. I am very proud of my players because they left it all on the floor.”
There were three more lead changes and two ties before the final seconds when Poirier decided the outcome with his free throws.
A fight against many obstacles
Real Madrid had to overcome not only a tough Fenerbahce team and a double-digit deficit but also numerous problems and absent players.
“First of all, congratulations to the guys for the win,” Real Madrid coach Pablo Laso said. “I think it was a hard-worked victory. Obviously, we knew it was going to be difficult, they are a physical, experienced team. We had some players out, and had last-minute absences, even during the game. You knew Sergi [Llull] was out and it looks like Nigel [Williams-Goss] has to undergo tests, but he may have a problem in one of his fingers. He couldn’t get back to play and we have to wait. Trey [Thompkins] and Randolph are also out and then Edy [Tavares], as you all probably know. With all that, I had quite a messy pre-game. I hope everything goes fine and that Edy becomes a dad soon, that there are no problems, and that we have a new member of the family.