by Manuel Siebert
|Rickey Paulding was red-hot from down town, going 6/7 on route to his game-high 24 points|
EWE Baskets Oldenburg are track for the EuroChallenge Last 16 after an inspiring win against Group A rivals Fuenlabrada.
In front of 1,750 thrilled fans the Northern German team captured its second win in the second game with 85:66 (38:33) and will next face Swedish participants Norrköping Dolphins as the sole leader of Group A.
Baloncesto Fuenlabrada started the game with leading scorers Kirk Penney and Gustavo Ayon resting on the bench. The game was played at a frenetic pace from the tip-off, with the Spaniards enforcing a very high tempo on both offense and defense.
This lead to a slew of turnovers on both sides, some rushed shots but overall a highly entertaining first period, which ended with Oldenburg leading 18:15.
In quarter two Fuenlabrada's Kirk Penney saw his first action of the night and instantly made his presence felt with a couple of made shots.
Every time Oldenburg tried to slow down the tempo Fuenlabrada would come at them relentlessly with a full court man press.
Despite the unusual breakneck speed and the intense defense by the Spaniards Oldenburg managed to make a high percentage of shots and kept a small lead throughout the period.
At the half Oldenburg lead 38:33 against the slight favorites from Spain's Liga Endesa.
Oldenburg took Fuenlabrada completely out of their usual style of play after the break, as they surprised their opponents with smothering defense.
Fuenlabrada's coach Porfirio Fisac returned to resting Penney and Ayon at the start of the third quarter - both players had yet to find their rhythm in this game.
As Fuenlabrada changed to a smaller lineup without a true center, Adam Chubb and Ronnie Burrell started dominating the paint, utilizing their size advantage as Oldenburg jumped to a 46:35 lead in the first four minutes.
Kirk Penney and Bobby Brown seemed set for an offensive showdown in this quarter as both players repeatedly took the ball directly to the hoop with strong one-on-one moves.
Still shooting strong, Oldenburg held on to a 54:49 lead heading into the final period.
After the game Fisac looked back: "For three quarters we executed our game plan well, despite playing a tough opponent. In the final quarter it was really the three point shooting, which made the difference for us."
With Fuenlabrada desperate to catch up on Oldenburg's small lead, the Spaniards started to employ a ball trapping defense against Bobby Brown, who calmly found open teammates for wide open shots from beyond the arc.
Milan Majstorovic and Rickey Paulding put the game out of reach with a flurry of three pointers in the first five minutes of the quarter, giving Oldenburg a 76:56 lead.
Paulding dominated both ends of the floor in this period as his active defense thwarted any attempt by Fuenlabrada to get back into the game.
In the final minutes all there was left to do for Fuenlabrada was to control the margin of defeat with regards to the rematch in three weeks, but Oldenburg managed to keep a 19 point lead until the final whistle came, with the score showing an impressive 85:66 for the hosts.
Fuenlabrada Head Coach Porfirio Fisac:
"This was a difficult game for us. I think we played well in the first three quarters. In the final quarter, oldenburg kept making shots from beyond the arc which more or less explains the result of the game."
EWE Baskets Head Coach Predrag Krunic:
"I have to congratulate my team for this important win. We played against a strong team tonight. Before the game, we talked about playing good defense and controlling the offensive glass. And we did both those things very well. Obviously we shot very well from three point range which made things a lot easier for us. Plus, the support from the crowd was great as usually."
Fuenlabrada player Lubos Barton
"This was a tough game and a tough result. Oldenburg played great defense and shot the ball really well. So nothing came easy for us today."
EWE Baskets player Rickey Paulding
"It was a good game for us. We wanted to come out and play good defense and we knew we had to be ready to play. We played against a tough team today. I was very lucky to make most of my shots today. We now have to get some rest and prepare for the next game."