|Michael Hall scored the winning basket for Fuenlabrada with only a few seconds on the clock as Besiktas wasted the last possession |
Fuenlabrada are taking their fans on a wild ride and winning a lot of games in the process.
The latest success came on Tuesday night in the EuroChallenge Last 16, a 72-70 Group K victory over previously unbeaten Besiktas.
Fuenlabrada improved to 3-0 with the victory and Besiktas fell to 2-1.
One has to see this Fuenlabrada side to believe it.
Mike Hall, who only recently signed with the club, was the hero.
With 20 seconds to go and the shot-clock winding down, Hall caught a pass on the edge of the three-point arc, leaned into Pops Mensah-Bonsu of Besiktas, his former college roommate at George Washington University, and got off a clean shot that fell through the hoop.
Because his foot was on the line, the shot was ruled a two-pointer but Fuenlabrada still led 72-70 and Besiktas called a timeout.
The Turkish side ended up with a very poor finish.
Instead of getting the ball to Zoran Erceg or Adam Morrison, two players that had caught fire in the fourth quarter and allowed the team to battle back from a 12-point deficit and take the lead, point guard Carlos Arroyo ended up taking a difficult three-pointer that missed everything.
Fuenlabrada's players joined in the middle of the court and celebrated before leaving for the changing rooms.
The only player to stay on the floor was Hall.
Without a club after battling back from a ruptured Achilles tendon, the former Olimpia Milano player jumped at the chance to play for Fuenlabrada.
He ran around the edge of the court on Tuesday night, exchanging low fives with every fan who wanted to, before bouncing down the tunnel and shouting for joy the entire way.
Besiktas will know this is a game that they very easily could have won.
They trailed 22-10 late in the first quarter but clawed the deficit back to 38-31 at half-time.
Kirk Penney and Quino Colom each had eight points and both Hall and Robert Joseph four apiece at half-time for Fuenlabrada.
Erceg led the Besiktas scorers with eight at the break.
Besiktas started the second half with 5-0 run, including an Erceg three-pointer.
A Morrison three-ball with 40 seconds to play in the third quarter cut the Fuenlabrada lead to 48-47, but Hall replied with a shot from the arc to take the advantage back to four.
Hall had nine points at the end of the quarter.
Can Akin's three-pointer for Besiktas started the fourth quarter and when Morrison drifted into the lane and scored with a soft jumper, the visitors had a 52-51 advantage - their first lead since early in game.
Morrison then sank two free-throws make it 54-51 for Besiktas.
Sergio Sanchez scored with a reverse layup for Fuenlabrada, only for Morrison to answer with floater to take his points haul to 13 with 7:00 to go.
Hall would end up making a big three with 5:40 to play for a 58-56 Fuenlabrada advantage, yet Leo Mainoldi lost his composure and argued when he was called for a foul on David Hawkins.
The referee slapped Mainoldi with a technical, which gave Hawkins four free-throws.
Hawkins made three of his shots from the charity stripe for a one-point Besiktas lead, and then Erceg, with the Turkish team maintaining possession, caught a pass from Arroyo and dunked to go to 15 points and give his side a 61-58 advantage.
Erceg caught another pass from Arroyo and drilled a 10-footer to make it 63-58, taking his points haul to 17.
After the teams exchanged baskets, Hall tipped in a miss and was fouled by Mensah-Bonsu and made the free-throw to close the gap to 65-63 with 3:15 to go.
Mainoldi, only just back after missing games with a knee problem, then connected from behind the arc for a 66-65 Fuenlabrada lead.
A Penney jumper extended the lead to three, only for the brilliant Morrison to reply with a shot from the arc for Besiktas to tie the contest at 68-68.
Hall not long after made his go-ahead jumper with 20 seconds to play and Fuenlabrada held on for a famous victory.
Fuenlabrada out-rebounded Besiktas, 39-28. They were eight of 26 from long range compared to seven of 22 for the visitors.