Efes starts strong, hangs on for 66-76 win at Nizhny
In a game marked at its start by missing stars on both sides, Anadolu Efes Istanbul proved its superior depth by outlasting host Nizhny Novgorod by 66-76 in Group A on Thursday. Efes raised its record to 3-1 to stay among the top three teams in the group standings, while Nizhny fell to 1-3 with its third straight defeat. Efes dominated at both ends of the floor as Dario Saric doubled his Euroleague career high with 18 points. Stephane Lasme moved into second place on the competition's all-time list of shot-blockers with 3 more to give him 143 for his career. Milko Bjelica added 14 points for the winners while 17-year-old Furkan Korkmaz had 9 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and hit 2 of 2 free throws with 1 minute left after Nizhny had rallied to within 63-70. Taylor Rochestie, who led the hosts with 19 points, drilled a triple then, but Stratos Perperoglou matched him on the next play to safeguard the win for Efes, which had lost its leading scorer, center Nenad Krstic, to injury over the weekend. Nizhny, playing without injured Tarence Kinsey and Will Daniels, also got 16 points from Semen Antonov and 14 from Trey Thompkins.
First quarter: Bjelica gets Efes going
Dueling three-pointers from Bjelica and Antonov got the scoreboard rolling. Bjelica and Rochestie traded layups next a 5-5 tie before Matt Janning put Efes in front with a jumper. Perperoglou and Rochestie exchanged free throws before Artsiom Parakhouski tied it 9-9 on a basket inside. Saric got on the scoreboard from downtown for Efes and Antonov answered with a put-back. Saric drove and dropped a shot to make it 11-14 before Antonov sat down with his third foul already. Thompkins resumes Nizhny's scoring but fouled Bjelica, who made 2 free throws. Dontaye Draper's fastbreak layup was equaled by Parakhouski's inside basket before Cedi Osman struck from the corner to put Efes up 15-21 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Korkmaz helps lengthen the lead
Lasme's big block ignited a fastbreak that Korkmaz finished with a dunk as Efes opened the second quarter strong. When Saric added an open jumper, the scoreboard read 15-25 and Nizhny needed a timeout. Thompkins got 2 points back on a drive, but Osman erased them with his own and Saric cut to the basket for a layup. Bjelic and Saric dropped shots from the lane as the lead grew to 17-33 and the Efes defense stymied Nizhny again. When Korkmaz buried a transition three-pointer, it was 17-33 and Nizhny needed another timeout. Vladimir Ivlev stopped Nizhny's bleeding with a basket in close, but Osman's tip-in matched it and his spin move upped the difference past 20 points, 19-40. Evgeny Baburin and Antonov shared 3 of 4 free throws to calm the hosts, but Bjelica had the last word as Efes pulled into halftime comfortably ahead, 24-42.
Third quarter: Saric and Efes threaten a blowout
Efes picked up where it left off as Lasme detonated an alley-oop slam and Saric split the defense for an easy two. When Dontaye Draper pulled up for a transition three-pointer, Efes was threatening to double Nizhny on the scoreboard at 24-49. Parakhouski made 1 of 2 free throws before a block by Thompkins and his three-pointer soon cut the difference. Lasme and Thompkins then traded jump shots before Rochestie hit 3 of 3 free throws to make it 33-51. Saric nailed a two-pointer that Dimitriy Khvostov bettered with 3 points from the arc, but Korkmaz got 2 of those back at the foul line to make it 36-55. Perperoglou's free throw and his assist to Draper for another triple re-set the difference at 23 points, 36-59. Antonov bulled in for a basket and Rochestie finished a break at 40-60. After a timeout, Donnie McGrath's jumper for Efes was answered by Antonov from deep, but Bjelica was left open to do the same. Rochestie kept scoring, but the hosts could get no closer as Efes took a 45-65 lead into the final quarter.
Fourth quarter: Rochestie rallies Nizhny, but too late
After a scoreless first minute in the fourth, Saric flew to the rim for a tip-in. Antonov buried his third three-pointer and Thompkins turned on the block for a basket. When Baburin struck from downtown on the break, Nizhny had lowered the difference to 15 points, 53-68, and Efes needed a timeout. A steal by Thompkins led to another Nizhny triple, this one by Rochestie, before Emircan Kosut's first 2 points of the season at the foul line to make it 56-70 with under 4 minutes left. Antonov drove for a layup and Thompkins blasted a triple from the corner to get the deficit to single digits, 61-70. Rochestie's running one-hander made it 63-70 with 2 minutes left. There the scoring stalled despite Nizhny's two chances to get closer before Korkmaz went 2 for 2 at the foul line with 1 minute left, Rochestie answered with a very long three-pointer at 66-72, but the veteran Perperoglou waited in the corner and hit his own, making sure that Efes went home with a valuable road victory.
Thursday, November 6, 2014