Ekpe Udoh’s amazing performance (18 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists) was enough for Fenerbahce to beat Real Madrid (84-75) and advance to the Final for a second time in a row.
The Turkish club was unstoppable from start to finish and had no problem to beat the Spaniards in a sold-out “Sinan Erdem Dome”.
Apart from Udoh, the Turks saw three more players be in double digits, whereas Sergio Llull’s (28 points, eight assists) and Jaycee Carroll’s (21 points, five three-pointers) great game couldn’t help the “Whites” make the come-back.
Before tonight’s game, everybody was anticipating this match, as the two clubs had played many times against each other since 2014.
“There’s a heated rivalry between these two teams and this semifinal marks the third time they meet in this round. In the 2015 Final Four Semifinal, Real Madrid eliminated Fenerbache on their way to a Euroleague title, but last season, Fenerbahce swept Real Madrid in the playoff round to make the Final Four. The odds favor Fenerbache by 3.5 points, and judging by the way they are playing, they stand a great chance to beat Real Madrid and make it to the finals,” says Dave Strauss, head manager at MyBookie.ag sportsbook.
And that was exactly the case in the beginning of the game. In front of more than 10.000 Fenerbahce supporters, the Turkish team was dominant and quickly took an eight-point lead (12-4, 17-9), which retained it until the end of the first quarter (21-13).
Later, the Turks extended their advantage to double digits (26-13), playing excellent defence, but the Spaniards responded and turned things around, thanks to an 11-0 run, cutting the deficit to just two points (26-24).
However, Fenerbahce regained control of the situation and brought their lead back to double digits at the end of the first half (44-34), behind an 18-10 run of their own.
In the second half, Zeljko Obradovic’s players kept on playing at high standards (52-37), but two straight three-pointers by Carroll kept Pablo Laso’s squad alive (56-48).
The Turks, though, played very well offensively and closed the third quarter in front by 13 (63-50), with Real Madrid needing to make many changes to their game plan in the last quarter.
And that’s exactly what they did. Making a series of big shots, they cut the deficit to eight points twice (68-60, 72-64), however Udoh scored consecutive points (77-64) and secured the victory for Fenerbahce as well as the qualification to the Final for a second straight time.