Barça bounce back against Fener (69-75)
Sònia de Alba
Barça Regal maintained their push for a place in the next stage of the Euroleague after an entertaining triumph against Fenerbahçe in Turkey on Thursday evening saw them hold on after the hosts looked to bounce back after a slow start.
The Turkish outfit beat the Blaugrana when the two teams first met this season at the Palau
Blaugrana and the Catalan side were keen to avenge that reverse and draw level in the table with
In Istanbul that became a reality as Barça were able to take charge in the opening stages
despite being without Juan Carlos Navarro, Gianluca Basile and Pete Mickael. Fenerbahçe felt that
they could beat the reigning European champions given their unbeaten home record, but they were
shown just why Xavi Pascual's side were crowned as kings of the continent last term.
The visitors began the encounter in great form and a number of steals in
defence and quick breaks going forward saw them quickly move into the lead. With Ricky Rubio and
Joe Ingles shining Barça secured a 7-17 advantage and continued along that line as a triple from
jaka Lakovic made it 19-32 during the second quarter.
Fenerbahçe were unable to handle their opponents and had to call for a time out in the
opening minutes in order to try and regroup, but that did little to stem the tide. Another time out
was called before the midway point and while Rubio netted twice, Vázquez made a superb block to
deny Ukic. Before half-time Boni N'Dong sank four unanswered points to put the visitors 28-40 up.
The interval gave the hosts time to reflect and work out where they were
going wrong and they came back out with a flurry of their own. Seven points quickly reduced the
arrears to just five points at 35-40. That momentum was halted, however, when Lakovic sank a triple
and the game began to spark back into life and a frenzied run ensued.
Fener's fervent fans were now backing their team with a wall of noise and it was down to
Barça to shut that out and remain calm in the face of a very strong side that were determined not
to taste a home defeat for the first time this season.
At the end of the third quarter the scoreboard indicated that Barça were
51-56 ahead and that led to both sides attacking from the start of the final period. While
N`'Dong was doing his thing to keep the Blaugrana in front, Tomas sank five straight points to pull
the home team to within just two of their guests and the encounter was gripping
The defences kept on top of things and prevented a free-for-all, but it was Barça that
maintained their consistency in attack with Rubio pushing Barça 60-69 in front and forcing the
opposition to call for yet another time out. The trick worked once more and Fener scored six points
to raise the roof off the arena and when Peker hit the target once more there was a renewed belief
about the hosts.
Instead, Barça dug deep Lakovic's free throws late on were followed by another from Rubio
that effectively ended the game as a contest as Barça moved ahead 69-75 and that proved to be the