Fenerbahce sent a message that echoed all around the competition by rallying from a 16-point second-half deficit to down Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens 58-71 in in front of a sellout crowd of 18,310 at the Olympic Sports Center Athens on Tuesday.
Fenerbahce has a 0-1 lead in the series, as Panathinaikos hosts Game 2 on Thursday.
Bogdan Bogdanovic led the winners with 23 points on 5-of-6 three-point shots, five rebounds, four assists and a career-high three blocks. Nikola Kalinic added 16 points while Ali Muhammed had 13 for Fenerbahce. Bogdanovic had a PIR of 35, also a new career-high.
K.C. Rivers had 16 points to lead Panathinaikos while Mike James added 14. Fenerbahce had a great start and got a double-digit lead, 6-16, but James and Rivers fueled a 12-0 run that put Panathinaikos in charge. Both players kept pacing the Greens, which boosted their margin to 42-28 at halftime. Panathinaikos outrebounded Fenerbahce by 14-9 in the first half, dishing 10 assists and forcing the guests to pick up 10 turnovers.
Everything changed after the break, however, as a mammoth 8-40 run allowed Fenerbahce to return to the game and even seal the outcome long before the final buzzer. Fenerbahce limited its opponents to 16 second-half points - a new all-time low for Panathinaikos in a half. Fenerbahce ended up hitting 13-of-22 three-point shots (59.1%), in another big key for this critical win.
1st Quarter: 16-15 (Fenerbahce)
2nd Quarter: 27-12 (Panathinaikos)
3rd Quarter: 20-8 (Fenerbahce)
4th Quarter: 23-8 (Fenerbahce)
Fenerbahce (71): Bogdanovic 23, Kalinic 16, A.Muhammed 13, Vesely 8, Udoh 8, Datome 3.