Fenerbahce gained revenge for last season’s humiliating home loss in the Euroleague Top 16 with a 75-70 win over Barcelona at the Ulker Sports Arena.
The Turkish side lost 99-60 the last time these two sides met in Istanbul and there were still painful memories of that night etched into anyone that follows Fenerbahce.
But this home victory vanished those nightmares. A 14-0 run from the hosts in the third quarter proved decisive but Barcelona made it close in the fourth as they staged a dramatic comeback which included a 10-0 run in the last three minutes. Fenerbahce though held on to 2-0 in Group A, dropping Barca to 1-1.
Linas Kleiza was inspired, leading all scorers for Fenerbahce with 22 points. Luka Zoric hit 12 for the winners as well.
“It’s a very important win or us. And it’s very important that for many minutes in this game we played good, ” said Fenerbahce coach Zeljko Obradovic.
“But we still need time, because in the crucial moments of the game, in the last quarter, we stopped playing, thinking maybe that the game was over. But the game is never over, especially if you are playing against a team like Barcelona. Anyhow, as I said the players, it’s a very important victory for us, and we continue to believe in our possibilities.”
Juan Carlos Navarro led the Catalans with 18 points.
Panathinaikos beat Laboral Kutxa 95-74 in Group D as the nation of Cyprus tasted Euroleague basketball for the very first time.
With the Greek club hosting two games outside of Athens as punishment for last season’s crowd trouble at the OAKA, they more than made up for their distance away from the Greek capital with a fantastic showing in Nicosia against a poor Vitoria side.
Michael Bramos led the Greens with 21 points as they dished out 31 assists overall, displaying great team basketball.
Andres Nocioni led Laboral Kutxa with a double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds.
Back to Group A where CSKA Moscow improved to 2-0 with a 72-67 win over Budiveilnik Kiev in the Russian capital.
The Russian champions were in control for the majority of the contest, despite a few scares from their counterparts from the Ukraine.
Milos Teodosic led the victors with 14 points while Micah Downs had a game-high 23 for Kiev.
Elsewhere, Partizan thumped Nanterre 73-43 in the Serbian capital to go 1-1 in the third Group A clash.
Dragan Milosavljevic led Partizan with 26 points.
“We gave our best on the court,” said Milosavljevic afterwards. “We beat an excellent team. Nanterre is team full of great individuals with excellent chemistry, but we opened the game in style and we were fighting hard from first to the last minute.”
Bayern Munich improved to 2-0 in Group C after beating Montepaschi Siena 89-79 at the Audi Dome.
Malcolm Delaney led the Germans with 20 points as Bayern’s first Euroleague home game ends with a win. Joshua Carter led the Italian champions with 14.
Anadolu Efes scored a 76-66 away win over Strasbourg in Group B.
Scotty Hopson led the Turkish side with 20 points as they go 2-0 in the group, dropping the French side to 0-2.
Unicaja Malaga thumped a woeful Zielona Gora 101-68 in Spain in Group C.
Nik Caner-Medley hit 20 points as he led five Malaga players in double figure, scoring numbers.