By Eurohoops Team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Among the best home teams of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, Cazoo Baskonia uses the Fernando Buesa Arena crowd to switch the momentum in the second half and blow out Fenerbahce Beko, 92-69, Friday.
Setting a new career-high, Vanja Marinkovic put in 35 points with six three-pointers in a total of 12/18 field goals. His third triple of the night beat the buzzer in the third quarter of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 32 and produced the first lead since early in the first quarter. The Serbian sharpshooter opening the fourth period with another bucket completed a 9-0 sprint.
“I enjoyed it. I am so happy about my points and performance. But I am happier about the win. Now, we need only one more,” underlined Marinkovic following the brilliant showing.
Additional fuel to the comeback, Rokas Giedraitis scored ten of his 12 points in the second half. “Vanja was the key,” the Lithuanian forward credited Marinkovic, “In the second half, our energy, rebounds, we stopped their offense. Of course, Vanja was amazing today.”
Darius Thompson added 13 points, four assists, three steals, two rebounds, and one block. Daulton Hommes chipped in 12 more points. Matt Costello stuffing the stat sheet with five points, 12 rebounds, four assists, three blocks, and two steals produced a PIR of 24, the second-best trailing only Marinkovic.
The team coached by Joan Penarroya improved to 17-15 to stay in touch with the Playoffs zone with two fixtures left on the double-legged round-robin schedule. Tadas Sedekerskis (left leg) remained sidelined along with Pierria Henry (suspension). The 13th win in 16 home games this season downed the opponents to 18-14.
“We improved our defense. From 11 points down, we showed the famous Baskonia character,” the Spanish tactician painted the picture of the reaction after the break, “I am proud of my players and the fans.”
Besides Baskonia, AS Monaco also enjoyed the second-half turnaround. La Roca Team joined Olympiacos, Real Madrid, and FC Barcelona as the four teams to carry homecourt advantage in the Playoffs best-of-five series.
Dimitris Itoudis saw his side control the tempo until midway through the third quarter. The defense against the transition game stopped working, the momentum went in the opposite direction, and the deficit kept growing. Consequently, the ticket to the Playoffs slipped away for now. “The third quarter was very bad for us. We missed a lot of layups and a lot of open looks and a lot of free throws.” summed up the Greek tactician.
Johnathan Motley had 18 points and Carsen Edwards tallied 16 points in the losing effort. Devin Booker suffering a knee injury warming up was a late scratch. Other unavailable players were Metecan Birsen (left shoulder), Melih Mahmutoglu (left calf), Dyshawn Pierre (left calf), and Scottie Wilbekin (left knee). Deeper on the roster, Ismet Akpinar and Samet Geyik were ruled out for the entire two-game week.
Crucial domestic games before the penultimate EuroLeague week
Sharing the lead in Spain’s Liga Endesa with a 20-4 record, the team based in Vitoria-Gasteiz will move forward by taking on Valencia in La Fonteta Sunday. Up next is a must-win EuroLeague game opposite LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne back in Buesa Arena Thursday.
The defending champions of Turkey, sitting at 18-4 in the 2022-23 edition of BSL, will face Galatasaray Nef Monday. The second straight Istanbul derby comes with Anadolu Efes and massive postseason implications in EuroLeague’s Round 33 Thursday.
Photo Credit: Baskonia