By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Nando De Colo scored a career-high 39 points while registering a career-best 44 PIR to lead Fenerbahce Beko to an 87-80 win over Baskonia in Istanbul. It was the first victory of the 2019-2020 EuroLeague for the Turkish side and the second loss for their opponents.
“I feel great. Not about what I did on the court but what about the team did,” De Colo (10/12 2-pointers, 3/6 triples) said in his post-game flash interview for EuroLeague TV. “In the first two games with had some problems on offense even though we played good on defense. We have to be on offense like we were tonight.”
Apart from his personal feats, De Colo also set a new scoring record for Fenerbahce in EuroLeague by surpassing Drew Goudelock’s 34-point performance against Bayern Munich in 2014.
“Amazing player. He’s been proving it many years and I’m happy he’s here and we can help each other win games,” Fenerbahce big man Jan Vesely (nine points, seven rebounds, five assists) commented.
Tornike Shengelia dropped 18 points and Shavon Shields 17 for Baskonia that was 63 – 62 with 8:32 remaining before Fener took over for good. Nikola Kalinic and Bobby Dixon hit back-to-back triples and then the Serbian forward gave the hosts their first double-digit lead in the match when he stole the ball and scored in transition for the 79 – 68.
Micheal Eric and Matt Janning tried to put the visiting squad back in the game but Dixon secured his team reaching the last stretch with a safe advantage.
Obradovic: “We can’t play good basketball without moving the ball faster”
Fenerbahce coach Zeljko Obradovic was happy to play at home and get the win: “This was our first home game in the EuroLeague after a long period. We are very happy to come back and play in front of our people. Thanks to the fans for the support before and during the game, that is something very important to us”.
However, he wants more from his players: “We were saying before the game, Baskonia is a very good team that knows how it wants to play and want they need to do. We needed to control the rebounds and I am very happy in that aspect. Plus, we scored 87 points despite having 15 turnovers. Players need to understand we can’t play good basketball without moving the ball faster, we need to insist on that in our practices and try to have some automatism in our game. We came into the last period with an advantage and we played smart and that is why we won. It is just the beginning of the season, so players need to understand they are all important and everybody will get a chance to play.”
On the side, coach Velimir Perasovic admitted that De Colo was simply unstoppable: “Congratulations to Fenerbahce on a deserved victory. I think they were more solid during the game. I think the key was we never could stop Nando De Colo. Not only small guys but in pick-and-roll situations, he found an easy way to make pull-ups and he killed us. We stayed in the game, but turnovers in the fourth quarter broke the game open.”
Photo credit: EuroLeague