Spanoulis headlines come-from-behind Olympiacos win
Olympiacos Piraeus erased an 11-point third-quarter deficit to defeat Laboral Kutxa Vitoria 76-64 on Friday at Peace and Friendship Stadium. Vassilis Spanoulis scored 8 points and Kostas Sloukas dished 3 assists during a 20-2 charge from late in the third quarter until midway through the fourth that made it 67-53 and allowed the Reds to cruise to victory. Spanoulis paced the winners with 27 points and 6 assists as Olympiacos stayed pace with CSKA Moscow atop Top 16 Group F at 4-0. Laboral dropped to 1-3 and a share of sixth place. Othello Hunter added 14 points and 7 boards for the hosts, who extended their home-court winning streak to 11 Euroleague games. Darius Adams recorded 12 points and 5 assists for Laboral, while Toko Shengelia netted 10 points in defeat.
First quarter: Little separates teams early
Fabien Causeur opened the scoring for the visitors with a three-point play. Bryant Dunston put the hosts on the scoreboard, but Mirza Begic sank a jumper and Fernando San Emeterio drove into the paint to make it 2-7. Dunston and Shengelia traded free throws. The Reds started to find their footing as Spanoulis got his first points, Dunston his first block and Tremmell Darden narrowed the gap to 7-9. Bren Petway’s jumper tied the score. Shengelia fouled Darden from behind and the veteran forward gave Olympiacos its first lead, 10-9, midway through the quarter. After the TV timeout, Begic scored from close range. Spanoulis split free throws to tie the game at 11-11. Kim Tillie hit a fade-away jumper and Davis Bertans drilled a three for a 5-point Laboral advantage. Spanoulis responded immediately with a drive and Dunston and Kostas Sloukas added free throws to put Olympiacos on top 17-16. Mike James countered with foul shots of his own to leave Laboral with a 17-18 edge after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Three-pointers help Laboral pull in front
Mike James charged down the Olympiacos lane for a slam. Adams followed with a deep three for a 6-point Laboral advantage. Hunter scored down low, but Adams showed off his shooting range with an even longer triple to make it 19-26. Georgios Printezis was fouled on his baseline drive and hit both free throws, but a second Bertans three gave Laboral an 8-point cushion. Spanoulis took charge with a layup. Tillie stepped up for Laboral with a tip-in and a short jumper, though Spanoulis fed Hunter for a slam in between those baskets. Colton Iverson made free throws and rejected Dunston as the visitors took the difference to double figures at 25-35. Petway gave the crowd something to shout about with a three from the corner. After a timeout, Adams drove for a finger roll and a 28-37 lead at the break.
Third quarter: Spanoulis leads Olympiacos back
Shengelia and Dunston scored the first points of the second half. Laboral went to Shengelia again and he scored 2 free throws. Olympiacos looked to turn things around as Spanoulis drilled a three and Vangelis Mantzaris flipped to a cutting Petway for a wicked slam. Petway rose high to send a block into the stands. But San Emeterio’s fade away jumper was followed by a steal and score from Adams. Spanoulis connected from downtown again and Darden scored in transition to make it 40-45 midway through the quarter. Shengelia was in the right place to retrieve the ball and score after Spanoulsi blocked Adams. Mantzaris drained a three to bring the Reds within 4. Shengelia’s next bucket was matched by Spanoulis’s free throws. The Olympiacos legend drew his team within 47-49 with a short jumper. Bertans fed Iverson for a slam, but Spanoulis had the arena rocking with his next three. After Bertans missed twice from the charity stripe, Spanoulis ran the pick-and-roll with Hunter, who finished with a layup for a 52-51 Olympiacos lead. Spanoulis hit another jumper, but Tillie kept it close, 54-53.
Fourth quarter: Reds cap 20-2 run to wrap up victory
Matt Lojeski sank a smooth jumper to start the final stanza. Mantzaris found a cutting Hunter for a basket plus foul as the Reds looked to pull away. James fouled out and Lojeski buried a three for a 62-53 lead. Hunter made it a double-digit lead and Spanoulis added a three to bring the crowd to its feet at the end of a 20-2 run. More than five minutes passed in the quarter before Begic ended the Laboral drought with a pair of free throws. Spanoulis fed Hunter for a basket-plus-foul as the Reds continued to march. Begic generated a few more points from the line, but the fans were singing after Spanoulis’s next basket with less than two minutes remaining. The star guard got a standing ovation when he came out with the outcome clear. Adams free throws and a Ben Hansbrough triple narrowed the gap in the final minute, but it was Olympiacos that celebrated at the final buzzer.
Friday, January 23, 2015