On its fifth attempt in their rivalry, Idea Slask finally beat Olympiacos 82-80 in the opening game for both teams in Group C on Thursday. Dominik Tomczyk and Lynn Greer were the heroes of the day for the fans in Wroclaw, Poland. Both scored 27 points, Tomczyk added 7 rebounds, while Greer had 8 assists, 9 fouls drawn, 4 rebounds and just 1 tournouver in 33 minutes. Adam Wojcik and Derrick Phelps both scored 10 points and the latter made important free throws in the last seconds. Giorgios Diamantoulos came of the bench to lead Olympiakos with 22 points, 17 of them in the second half. Centers Dalibor Bagaric and Ruben Wolkowysky both had 11 points. Slask took the lead for good in the 36th minute, but Panagiotis Lidelis had the chance to send the game into overtime. When he made just 1 of 2 free throws with 4 seconds remaining, the Wroclaw fans went crazy.
The game in the first half was dominated by runs. Slask opened the game 5-0 on Tanel Tein's bomb from a downtown, what turned out to be his only basket. The guests quickly answered with the 14 consecutive points, of which Giorgios Giannauzakos and Boris Gorenc contributed 9. Wojcik, Phelps and Maciej Zielinski, who started the game on the bench, came in and started changing Slask's defense from zone to one to one. Olympiacos had some troubles then as the fastbreaks dried up. Slask made another 12-0 run, finished by Wojcik's three-pointer and the hosts lead 17-15 after the first period. It was the only quarter won by Idea Slask and just by a gap of 2 points, but it was enough for the victory.
The second quarter opened with Wojcik's free throws, but then for few minutes again only the Reds scored. Diamantopulos finished fastbreaks, as did Branko Milisavljevic. But then Slask found its point guard. Greer started the game bad, quickly went on the bench and did not score in the opening period. But once back, he got started, and how! Greer was unstoppable, and when Dominik Tomczyk helped him with outside shooting, Slask took control back in its hands. In the 17th minute Tomczyk made another shot from beyond the arc and Slask led 28-24. A few minutes later, the half finished with the board showing 34-32, the home team just a basket ahead.
To begin the second half, Greer scored 5 consecutive points, but Olympiacos find the way to score against Slask's zone. Christos Harissis made his second three-pointer, still Olympiacos had made only 3 of 11 attempts so far. Soon, help again came from Diamantopoulos, who scored 9 points in the quarter, all on bombs from downtown. With his shots, the Reds twice grabbed leads, at 44-45 and 55-56. But Slask always had Tomczyk with an answer. The guests countered now with its big men, Bagaric and Ruben Wolkowysky, shooting from middle distance. After 30 minutes, a basket alone still separated the two teams, 60-58.
The basket-for-basket, miss-for-miss pace continued to the finish. Olympiacos coulnd't score more fastbreaks, but had their guys outside. This time Milisavljevic added a three-pointer and Diamantopoulos another, but it was still not enough to break the game open. In the 35th minute, the Reds took their last lead at 69-71 on another Diamantopoulos basket. Who was on the other side? Of course Tomczyk, with his fifth long shot over the opponents' hands. Finally, Tomczyk's tip-in over Bagaric gave Slask the lead for good, but it wasn't the end of emotions. With 60 seconds left, Slask led 78-74 when Greer made his 10th shot from the foul line in as many attempts. But then Diamantopoulos made all of his free throws and both teams started chess. After Phelps made 3 of 4 for Slask, with 4 second remaining, Liadelis could have sent the game into overtime, but he also missed his second attempt. Tomczyk grabbed the most important rebound and sealed the win with a free throw.
Thursday, November 6, 2003
Andrzej Jaworski, Wroclaw