Defending Champions Lose At Home

10 January 2006

Now it's clear. Fenerbahce are for real, and Dynamo St Petersburg are not what they were last season.

Kaspars Kambala, Cory Violette, Damir Mrsic and Jarod Stevenson combined for 84 points as Fenerbahce defeated the defending champions Dynamo 86-83 in Group I of the EuroCup.

Jamal McCullough missed four free throws in the final 62 seconds for the Russians as Fenerbahce held on to improve to 3-0 in the group while St Petersburg suffered their second loss in three games.

Jamal Mc Cullough (Dynamo St. Petersburg)
Jamal Mc Cullough missed some costly free throws down the stretch for Dynamo
Kambala led all scorers with 31 points while Violette added 21 and Mrsic 20.

Stevenson chipped in with a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds. The only other Fenerbahce player to score was Semih Erden, who hit two free throws late in the first quarter.

Damir Miljkovic paced Dynamo with 19 points while Kelly McCarty had 16, McCullough 14, Ognjen Askrabic 13 and Darryl Middleton 10 points.

Aydin Ors's team was on mark early with Violette and Stevenson combining for 19 points as Fenerbahce opened a 24-20 lead after 10 minutes.

Dynamo took the lead 29-26 on a Kelly McCarty three-pointer. But the Turks answered with a 12-2 run to make it 38-31 midway through the second. The score line was 46-40 as the teams entered the locker room.

The heavyweight fight continued in the third with McCarty and Miljkovic hitting threes to off-set Kambala's dominance inside. But with the score 59-56 with 3:30 left, the big Latvia made a lay-up and Mrsic hit back-to-back three-pointers in the 8-1 run to close the third.

The Turkish lead bulged to 11 points - 72-61 - as Kambala converted a three-point play with 7:19 remaining. It was still a 10-point lead, 74-64, with six minutes left before the defending champions started a comeback.

Vladimir Veremeenko's two free throws pulled St. Petersburg to within 80-77 with 1:23 left. But Kambala converted another three-point play to push the lead back to six with 1:07 left.

McCullough then missed two free throws with 1:02 remaining only to drain a three-pointer with 55 seconds to make it 83-80.

After Veremeenko blocked a Mrsic shot, Askrabic downed a jump shot with 18 seconds left to make it 83-82.

Mrsic hit two free throws with 11 seconds but fouled McCullough on a three-point attempt just seconds later. With a chance to tie the game, McCullough missed the first and third attempts. Stevenson grabbed the rebound and hit one of two free throws before McCullough missed a desperation three at the buzzer.

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