Fenerbahce Istanbul stayed perfect after two games by outlasting pesky Khimki Moscow Region for a 93-85 triumph on Wednesday.
Fenerbahce is now 2-0, both wins coming at home, while Khimki fell to 0-2. Nicolo Melli had 16 points for the winners, but Ali Muhammed stormed off the bench for 14 in the last 12 minutes to secure the victory. Luigi Datome added 14, Kostas Sloukas 13, Jan Vesely 12 and Nikola Kalinic 10. Alexey Shved fired up 7 three-pointers on his way to 26 points for Khimki. Tony Crocker followed with 17, Jordan Mickey with 12 and Anthony Gill with 10. A flurry of 3 three-pointers by each team left Fenerbahce up 15-11 as Sloukas hit from the corner. Both teams stayed hot, but Melli kept the hosts ahead 28-21 after 10 minutes. The lead reached 30-21 on Joffrey Lauvergne's first of two put-backs, but soon Gill got Khimki within 32-29. Melli's monster dunk sparked another Fenerbahce surge. Khimki went cold with Shved seated and Sloukas took advantage with a buzzer-beater to make it a 54-43 halftime lead. Shved returned with 2 long-distance strikes in a 0-10 run as Khimki held Fenerbahce scoreless for almost 5 minutes and got within a point before staying on the heels of the hosts at 66-63 after 30 minutes. Doubled by Fenerbahce, Shved assisted Crocker's triple for a 66-66 tie, but Datome broke it and Muhammad hit 3 threes in under 1:30 to make it 77-70. Crocker got the next 4 points and Shved's four-point play made it 82-78, but Datome, Vesely and Muhammad stepped up to preserve the victory.
After splitting four home wins in their first games ever in the 2012-13 season, Fenerbahce has now won five straight against Khimki, ever since Zeljko Obradovic became the team's coach. All the victories have been nine or fewer points.
Little big man Ali Muhammed climbed off Fenerbahce's bench for the first time this season with 2:40 left in the third quarter. He nailed his only two-pointer before helping his team face down a 66-66 fourth-quarter tie by assisting Luigi Datome on the tie-breaking basket and then blasting 3 consecutive triples in 1 minute, 13 seconds to make it 77-70. Khimki never took the lead.
Shved and Co.
Alexey Shved may be aiming for his own three-point record by hitting 7 in Round 2 on top of his 8 from downtown in Round 1. But he had help this time. Khimki made 8 of its first 10 threes and 10 of 14 in the game's first 15 minutes. The visitors finished 15 of 34 from downtown as Crocker had 3 of his own, Gill and Dee Bost 2 each.
Fenerbahce heads to Kaunas, Lithuania for a 2018 semifinals rematch with host Zalgiris Kaunas on Friday in the Game of the Week for Round 3. Khimki goes to Istanbul, but the European side, to take on Anadolu Efes.