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Fenerbahce Beko clinch EuroLeague regular season lead

Turkish basketball giants Fenerbahce Beko clinched the lead in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague regular season late Thursday, beating Italian opponents AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan 104-90.

Fenerbahce Beko's Serbian forward Nikola Kalinic, who was selected as the player of the game, scored 22 points for his team.

The Turkish club's point guard, Ali Muhammed, produced 23 points against AX Armani Exchange.

The Italian club's U.S. forward, James Nunnally, racked up 26 points against Fenerbahce Beko and was the top scorer of the game.

Dictating the game held at the Mediolanum Forum near Milan, visitors Fenerbahce Beko took a large halftime lead of 52-42.

Fenerbahce Beko won Thursday's game even though many stars of the Istanbul team such as Greek guard Kostas Sloukas, Czech center Jan Vesely and French center-forward Joffrey Lauvergne didn't play.

The away victory in the Round 29 game saw Fenerbahce Beko clinch the lead in the EuroLeague regular season as the Istanbul heavyweights earned their 24th win this season.

They lost only five games.

Regular season leaders Fenerbahce Beko have already qualified for the next phase, the EuroLeague playoffs.

Sixteen teams are competing in league -- four Spanish, three Turkish, two Russian and two Greek teams and one team each from Germany, Italy, Israel, Lithuania and Montenegro.

Meanwhile, Thursday's losers, AX Armani Exchange, have risked their playoff chances as they are now in eighth spot in the standings.

The regular season is being played from Oct. 11, 2018 to April 5, 2019 with the top eight advancing to the playoffs to be held from April 16-30.

The winners will advance to the Final Four on May 17-19 at Fernando Buesa Arena in the Spanish city of Vitoria-Gasteiz in single-elimination matchups.

In addition to Fenerbahce Beko, CSKA Moscow, Real Madrid, Anadolu Efes from Istanbul and Barcelona Lassa have secured playoff spots.

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