Olympiacos defeated SLUC Nancy 91-78
Olympiacos survived a critical test in Turkish Airlines Euroleague regular season Group A by downing Sluc Nancy 91-78 in the Pireaus, Greece on Wednesday. Olympiacos and Nancy join Gescrap Bizkaia in a three-way tie for fourth place in Group A, all at 2-3 and just one win away from the leaders - Caja Laboral, Fenerbahce Ulker and Bennet Cantu. Vassilis Spanoulis paced the winners with 26 points and 6 assists. Michalis Pelekanos added 11 points while Andreas Glyniadakis had 10 for Olympiacos. Pelekanos lived up to his defensive reputation by limiting Nancy superstar Nicolas Batum to just 9 points. Adrien Moerman led Nancy with 20 points, John Linehan added 17 and Jamal Shuler 15. An outstanding Spanoulis had 9 first-quarter points to lead Olympiacos to a 30-22 edge after 10 minutes. Good defense and easy baskets in transition helped Nancy to get within 38-36 near halftime. Spanoulis kept pacing Olympiacos after the break and got some help from Glyniadakis and Martynas Gecevicius to give the Reds a 67-52 margin after 30 minutes. Nothing changed from that moment, as even when Nancy kept trying, Olympiacos stayed focused and sealed the win minutes before the final buzzer.
Akin Akingbala got Nancy going with a free throw and Shuler scored down low but back-to-back layups by Pero Antic and Lazaros Papadopoulos gave Olympiacos a 4-3 lead. Linehan and Kalin Lucas traded three-pointers and a jumper by Shuler soon restored a 7-8 Nancy edge. Antic downed a triple from the top of the key and Spanoulis added a driving layup for a 12-8 Olympiacos edge. Shuler kept pacing Nancy with a three-point play, as the Reds entered the foul bonus. Free throws by Moerman put the guests back ahead, 12-13. Kostas Papanikolaou and Linehan struck from downtown, as the Reds kept succeding at stopping Batum. Papadopoulos fed Papanikolaou for a layup and scored down low. A backdoor layup by Spanoulis soon gave Olympiacos a 21-17 margin. Batum split free throws and Abdel Sylla dunked it but Papadopoulos kept the hosts ahead, 25-20. Batum hit foul shots but 5 unanswered points by Spanoulis gave the Reds a 30-22 lead after 10 minutes.
Gecevicius struck from downtown early in the second quarter and Printezis matched Victor Samnick's layup with a put-back basket for a 35-24 Olympiacos lead.
Olympiacos kept playing with high intensity in defense, focusing on Batum at all times and denying him one-on-one options in the low post, but the hosts had started to miss open shots. Nancy had been scoreless for more than 4 minutes already until Samnick hit a jump hook in transition. Pelekanos made free throws but Samnick erased it with a layup and a three-pointer by Moerman got the guests even closer, 37-31. Jamal Shuler took over with an off-balance jumper and Moerman downed a rainbow triple from the left corner to bring Nancy within 38-36. Free throws by Lucas fixed the halftime score at 40-36.
Anric shined with a backdoor layup immediately after the break, as Olympiacos tried to use long possessions and get Papadopoulos involved. Papanikolaou sank a four-meter jumper but Pape Amagou answered with a close jumper and a put-back layup by Batum brought Nancy within 44-40. Spanoulis took over with a driving layup in transition that Batum matched with a fast break basket. Batum kept leading Nancy at both ends and free throws by Shuler made it a two-point game, 46-44. Olympiacos tried a more dynamic frontcourt with Printezis and Glyniakadis together on court. Glyniakadis sank a jump hook and foul shots by Spanoulis gave the Reds some fresh air, 51-44. Batum shined with a dunk and Akingbala jumped high for a tip-in but an unstoppable Spanoulis bettered that with back-to-back three-pointers. Batum scored again but Printezis set the crowd on fire with a huge fast break slam. Akingbala stepped up with a layup but 4 unanswered points by Glyniadakis made it a double-digit game, 63-52. Gecevicius made 4-of-4 foul shots for a 67-52 Olympiacos lead after 30 minutes.
Linehan struck from downtown early in the fourth quarter, as Nancy managed to lock the defensive board and get its run-and-gun basketball going. Linehan buried another three-pointer to give the guests some hope at 67-57. Glyniadakis rescued the Reds with free throws, as Olympiacos started to play with more intensity in defense to seal the outcome as soon as possible. Gianakidis stayed on fire with an easy basket and foul shots by Spanoulis restored a 15-point Olympiacos lead, 73-58. Moerman tried to change things with a fast break dunk and a three-point play by Shuler got Nancy within 73-63. Moerman sank a five-meter shot to cap a 0-7 run but a three-pointer by Pelekanos kept the Reds out of trouble at 77-65. Printezis made free throws and even when Nancy kept trying through an outstanding Moerman, all Olympiacos fans were already celebrating that their team will keep fighting to stay alive in competitive, difficult Group A.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011