| Panellinios BC took a big step forwards to reach the Eurocup Finals by downing Gran Canaria 2014 81-70 in Athens, Greece, in the first leg of their two-way Quarterfinals on Wednesday. Panellinios has a 11-point lead in the series, that now travel to the Canary Islands, Spain, for the decisive second leg. Rod Blakney paced the winners with 21 points. Ian Vougioukas added 16 and 8 rebounds, Kostas Charalampidis had 13 points while Manolis Papamakarios got 11 for Panellinios. Jaycee Carroll led Gran Canaria with 22 points. Sitapha Savane added 10 while James Augustine pulled down a game-high 9 rebounds for the guests. Carroll shined in the opening minutes but Blakney and Charalampidis stepped up late in the first quarter to give Panellinios a 20-16 lead after 10 minutes. Augustine and Melvin Sanders gave Gran Canaria a 31-36 edge but Vougioukas and Devin Smith kept the hosts within 39-40 at the break. A reverese layup by Carroll restored a 43-48 Gran Canaria lead but Vougioukas and Papamakarios fueled a 14-0 run that put Panellinios ahead for good, 57-48. Savane singlehandedly got Gran Canaria within 62-60 midway through the fourth quarter but Vougioukas, Papamakarios and an outstanding Blakney allowed Panellinios to get a very important win.
Marcus Norris got Gran Canaria going with a jumper and Carroll soon sank a close shot for a 2-4 lead. Chris Owens scored inside and Smith added a layup in transition for a 6-4 Panellinios lead. Carroll took over with an acrobatic layup and Norris sank a four-meter jumper to put Gran Canaria back ahead, 6-8. Carroll struck from downtown but free throws by Vougioukas and Smith kept Panellinios within 10-11. Jim Moran joined the three-point shootout but Blakney followed a backdoor layup with a wide open triple for a 15-14 Panellinios lead. Blakney kept pacing Panellinios with free throws, as Gran Canaria tried to slow down the game tempo with Tomas Bellas on court. Free throws by Charalampidis and Carroll fixed the score at 20-16 after 10 minutes. Carroll buried his second three-pointer early in the second quarter but Charalampidis quickly answered from downtown for a 23-19 score. Norris shined with a big triple and Sanders dunked it off a midcourt steal to put the guests back ahead, 23-24. Vougioukas scored in the paint and Charalampidis finished a long Panellinios offense with a corner triple to give his team some fresh air at 28-24. Will McDonald hit free throws and soon scored down low to tie it at 28-28. Gran Canaria had adjusted its man-to-man defense and a three-pointer by Sanders gave his team a 28-31 edge. Smith scored in the low post but he didn't find much help around. Augustine took over with a power dunk and soon added free throws to make theh hosts call timeout at 31-36. Smith stepped up with a three-pointer but Augustine and Carroll kept the guests ahead, 34-40. Blakney hit foul shots and Vougioukas added a three-point play to get Panellinios within 39-40 at halftime.
Both teams struggled to score immediately after the break until Blakney stepped up with free throws. Gran Canaria kept dominating the boards and trying to find open shots for Carroll and Moran. McDonald and Vougioukas traded baskets and a put-back layup by Augustine put the guests back ahead, 43-44. Sitapha Savane found his first points in the paint and Carroll provided a highlight with an outstanding reverse layup that made Panellinios stop the game at 43-48. Vougioukas followed free throws with a put-back layup, as the hosts played with more intensity in defense. Djuro Ostojic shined with a put-back basket and a three-pointer by Blakney gave Panellinios a 52-48 edge, forcing Gran Canaria to call timeout. Papamakarios struck from downtown and a reverse layup by Vougioukas capped a 14-0 run and made it a nine-point game, 57-48. Carroll rescued Gran Canaria with a triple but a nine-meter bomb by Papamakarios kept the hosts way ahead, 60-51, after 30 minutes. Charalampidis and Savane traded baskets early in the fourth quarter, as Panellinios had started to miss open shots from downtown. Savane hit free throws and Josh Fisher added a triple for a 62-58 Gran Canaria deficit with 6 minutes left. Savane stayed on fire with a close basket that Papamakarios bettered with his third three-pointer. Panellinios managed to stop Savane and Blakney nailed a rainbow triple that Papamakarios followed with a layup to make it a double-digit game, 70-60. Sanders struck from downtown but Vougioukas matched it with a layup-plus-foul for a 73-63 score with 3 minutes to go. Blakney took over with his fourth three-pointer but a jumper by Savane and free throws by Norris got Granca within 76-67. Charalampidis downed his trademark corner triple that Carroll matched with a layup-plus-foul. A big dunk by Owens allowed Panellinios to seal a key win in style.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010