In a riveting display of skill and determination, Fenerbahçe emerged victorious in a hard-fought contest against Bayern, securing a 98-91 win after an exhilarating overtime period. The hero of the night was none other than Scottie Wilbekino, whose stellar performance in this pivotal season game played a crucial role in Istanbul’s triumph.
The matchup unfolded as a fierce battle, with both teams refusing to let the other gain a substantial lead. From the second half of the first quarter onwards, no team managed to establish a dominance greater than 5 points. The intensity of the competition was such that the regulation 40 minutes proved insufficient to determine a clear winner. It took the defensive prowess of Šarūnas Jasikevičius’ mentees to finally break the deadlock in overtime, securing their third consecutive victory in the EuroLeague.
For Fenerbahçe, this win marked their seventh triumph out of eight games under the guidance of the accomplished Lithuanian coach, Šaras. On the flip side, Bayern experienced their fourth consecutive defeat in the tournament, a streak they undoubtedly sought to break.
From the opening minutes, Šaras’ team asserted their dominance, establishing a commanding double-digit lead of 19-8 by the end of the first quarter. However, Munich responded with resilience, staging a comeback that culminated in a 22-22 tie after a challenging two-point shot by Isaac Bonga.
The second quarter witnessed a neck-and-neck battle, with Tarik Biberovič contributing a crucial and challenging three-pointer to give the German team a slim 39-38 lead heading into halftime. The third quarter showcased the offensive prowess of Cottie Wilbekino, who scored 11 points in just half a quarter, bringing his season-high to an impressive 21 points in a mere 16 minutes on the court.
Despite Wilbekino’s inspired play, Fenerbahçe held a fragile 5-point lead at 53-48. Yet, Pablo Lasso’s Bayern responded with determination, embarking on an 11-4 run to snatch the lead at 59-57 as they entered the decisive quarter.
The final quarter witnessed a seesaw battle, with both teams exchanging three-pointers and taking turns leading. However, it was Wilbekino’s cosmic three-pointer over Andreas Obst’s outstretched hands that brought Fenerbahçe closer to victory, only for Francisco to respond for Bayern, tying the game once more at 81-81.
With 8 seconds left, Šaras took a timeout for a crucial attack. Unfortunately, Wilbekino’s difficult shot missed, leading both teams into an intense overtime. Fenerbahçe opened overtime with a 5-0 run, and despite Bayern’s attempts to salvage the game with long shots, Istanbul’s team secured a confident overtime victory.
Wilbekino’s standout performance included 30 points, featuring a mix of two-pointers, three-pointers, and successful free throws. Accompanied by 4 assists, his overall contribution earned him an impressive 28 efficiency points. The title of the most valuable player for Fenerbahçe went to Dyshawn Pierre, who notched up 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 29 efficiency points.
Unfortunately for Šaras and his squad, the absence of Nigel Hayes-Davis, the team’s most valuable and highest-scoring player, was felt during the game. Nevertheless, Fenerbahçe’s victory marked their 13th win in 21 games, solidifying their position at 4th place in the tournament standings.
As they bask in the glory of this hard-fought win, Šaras’ squad is gearing up for their next challenge. Next week, they will embark on a journey to Kaunas, where they will face off against Žalgiris on Friday, in anticipation of another gripping EuroLeague encounter.