Spanoulis inspires champs to big win in Milan
Defending champion Olympiacos Piraeus escaped from Medialonum Forum in Milan with a 71-84 win over EA7 Emporio Armani in Group C thanks to a brilliant evening from All-Euroleague guard Vassilis Spanoulis. The Reds improved their record to 3-2 in Group C, while Armani dropped to 2-3. Olympiacos used a 13-2 second-quarter run highlighted by Kostas Papanikolaou three-pointers to grab a double digit margin, 30-40. Another 9-2 early run in the third made it 38-50 advantage and an 15-4 charge early in the last quarter completed the job for the defending champions. Spanoulis inspired Olympiacos with 23 points and 9 assists, Kostas Papanikolau added 17 on 5-for-6 three-point shooting and Dimitiris Mavroeidis drilled 13. Keith Langford led EA7 Milan with 17 points, Ioannis Bourousis added 16 with 9 rebounds and Malik Hairston 15.
First quarter: The champs started on fire
Keith Langford opened the scoring for Armani from mid range, then Evangelos Mantzaris stole the ball form his hand to launch Mavroeidis in the open court for 2 easy points. An immediate answer by Malik Hairston gave a 4-3 margin to Milan. Vassilis Spanoulis scored 5 points in a row with Ioannis Bourousis answering with a jump hook in between. Giorgos Printezis assisted Mavroeides from the low post for an easy layup, then Spanoulis’s sent an alley-oop pass which Kostas Papanikolau finished with a huge dunk for a 6-11 lead. Two Printezis free throws capped a 0-8 run of the visitors. Finally Langford’s jumper ended a drought for the home team before back-to-back layups by Bourousis reduced the difference to 12-13. Langford went all the way to finish an 8-0 run for Armani and regain the lead at 14-13. Acie Law stepped on the court and quickly scored from mid range. Then Langford assisted Richard Hendrix for a spectacular finish added with a free throw. A three pointer by Spanoulis and 2 easy points in the open court for Law changed made it 17-20 for the defending champions. Kyle Hines made a monster block on a dunk attempt by Hendrix and Pero Antic added 3 of his 4 free throws for a 17-24 lead as the quarter finished.
Second quarter: Three-pointers made the difference
Bourousis’s put back and additional free throw fueled Armani early in the second quarter and Omar Cook hit a triple to make it 23-24 after two minutes scoreless for both sides. Antic showed off his long-distance shooting ability with a deep three. Bourousis answered with 3 free throws. Cook, from the foul line, tied the game at 27-27 and David Chiotti gave a 28-27 advantage to Milan. Spanoulis scored a floating layup and then pushed the break and assisted Papanikolaou for an open three-pointer and a 28-32 cushion, which Mavroeidis added to. Hairston hit a jumper from mid range, but Papanikolaou and Printezis nailed consecutive open three-pointers for the first double digit margin, 30-40. Cook pushed the hosts and made a triple from the corner, Mavroeidis added a free throw and a long distance shot by Hairston with a 1.1 seconds left fixed the halftime score at 36-41 for the Reds.
Third quarter: Spanoulis takes chargs
Spanoulis drove and dished another assist to an open Papanikolaou, who scored again from downtown to increase the advantage to 36-44, then Mavroeidis restored a double-digit margin with an easy layup. In the bad moments, Cook always looks to fuel EA7, this time with a pull-up jumper before a lefty jump hook from Printezis and a basket by Mavroeidis enlarged the margin to 38-50. Bourousis tried to wake up the hosts and a three-point-play by Langford trimmed the deficit to it 43-50. However a Hines layup on a lovely assist by Spanoulis boosted Olympiacos, though he missed the resulting free throw. Then the defenses prevailed and with 4:30 left in the quarter, the guests led 43-52. A perfect team play from the visitors finished by Hines, who completed the three-point-play, made it again a 12-points game. Hairston hit a three for Armani playing with Langford as point guard, but Law found easy points in the open court. Alessandro Gentile made 1 of his free throws. Hendrix, Mavroeidis and Nicolo Melli scored free throws to finish the quarter at 50-59 for the visiting team.
Fourth quarter: Olympiacos was too strong
Hairston opened the final quarter with a three-point-play to cut the margin to 53-59, Spanoulis again fed Hines in the paint for an easy layup, then scored a long three to go to 53-64. Cook banked in a shot from to keep Milan challenging, but then Mantzaris grabbed a loose ball and Papanikolaou hit another three for a 55-67 advantage. The red-hot Spanoulis added another three pointe. Gentile answered by driving to the rim, and another deep shot by the 2012 Final Four MVP gave a 57-74 margin to the Reds. Langford tried to answer with a three pointer and a put back, 62-74. Armani played a 2-3 zone defense, which was beat by a Papanikolaou rocket from eight meters. Hairston and Spanoulis exchanged baskets and Olympiacos entered the last two minutes ahead 64-79. Langford scored a free throw, and Mantzaris sealed the visitors win from downtown. Basile added 2 free throws before Spanoulis was replaced by his coach and the fans gave him a standing ovation. Langford scored the final basket for the 71-84 scoreline.
Thursday, November 8, 2012