Galatasaray bows out of Euroleague due to ‘small mistakes’

Playmaker Carlos Arroyo could not save Galatasaray Liv Hospital from elimination in the Euroleague as Barcelona wrapped up the quarterfinal playoff series 3-0 with a 78-75 comeback win in a thriller in Istanbul on Sunday night.

Head coach Ergin Ataman said the elimination was a result of “minor mistakes” and blamed his team’s second half performance for the home defeat.

Arroyo worked hard at Istanbul’s Abdi Ipekci Arena and came very close to leading Galatasaray one step closer to the Final Four. The Puerto Rican star needed a painkilling injection to play against Barcelona and netted 21 points. Serbian centers Zoran Erceg and Milan Macvan added 19 and 11 points, respectively; however, with other players contributing little to the score sheet, Galatasaray failed to clinch a win at home.

“All in all, we put up a good fight. Barcelona punished us for several small mistakes we made and won the series 3-0,” Ataman said at a press conference after the game. “We played 27 matches in the Euroleague. Against all odds, we represented Turkey [well] with the fight we showed and with the basketball we played,” he added. His Galatasaray made it to the last eight with seven wins and seven losses — four of the wins came in the last five games. The Istanbul club overcame injuries it had to deal with at the beginning of the season.

On Sunday, Barcelona started the game on a good note and claimed the advantage until Arroyo showed up. The great Arroyo-Erceg duo gave Galatasaray a 23-15 edge at the end of the first quarter. The hosts lost control of the game in the second quarter, with Barcelona reducing the deficit to a single point. However, Manuchar Markoishvili’s shot from downtown saw Galatasaray take a 40-35 lead at halftime.

The guests went on the offensive to level the score, and soon it was 49-49. Marcelinho Huertas’ points helped Barcelona lead the quarter by the slightest of margins, 53-52. Brazilian guard Huertas shined and impressed with his offensive skills in the fourth quarter. Thanks to him, Barcelona extended the margin to five points. Ataman’s team still managed to reclaim the advantage with Arroyo scoring a three-pointer and Markoishvili’s layup when only 100 seconds were left on the clock. Yet Huertas came to the fore again and led his side to a 78-75 victory.

Ataman was upset after losing when his team had come so close to a win. “We finished the first half as we wanted. We had difficulty in scoring in the second half. We could only score 12 points in the third period. We made mistakes trying to stop Huertas. He made a serious contribution to the score,” the Galatasaray coach said as he analyzed the game.

He added that Galatasaray should be given an A license, which gives the holder an automatic berth in the regular season. “It is a big loss for the Euroleague too [if Galatasaray does not earn a spot in the tournament next season]. It is a big club that makes huge investments.”