Olympiacos KO’s Limoges to clinch top spot in Group B
Olympiacos Piraeus never trailed in no-doubt-about-it 67-76 road win over CSP Limoges on Thursday night in France. The win lifted Olympiacos to 8-1 as it clinched the first place in Group B. Limoges, in its last Euroleague home game this season, dropped to 2-7. Olympiacos pulled away with a 2-11 run in the first five minutes of the game, then assumed complete control after Ioannis Athinaiou and Georgios Printezis hit back-to-back triples in the second quarter to open a 27-40 margin. Limoges closed within 44-50, but The Reds hit three consecutive triples during a 2-13 run to break the game wide open. Georgios Printezis paced the Reds with 13 points. Vangelis Mantzaris scored 12, and Ioannis Papapetrou played 16 minutes to chip in with 11 points in victory. Ali Traore and Leo Westermann each scored 14 for Limoges, and Will Daniels had 10 in the losing effort.
First quarter: The Reds off to a good start
Mantzaris opened scoring from close range, and after Westermann opened the hosts' account with a runner, Mantzaris answered with a triple. Ousmane Camara was on a receiving end of some nice passing by Limoges and made an easy layup, but Papapetrou drove for a layup to spark an Olympiacos run. Printezis scored a fastbreak layup, and Nikola Milutinov added a put-back dunk to make it 4-13 midway through the first quarter. Westermann ended an almost a three-minute long Limoges drought with a driving layup, and after a timeout, he added another one. Daniels had a monster put-back, and after a floater from Mantzaris beat the shot-clock, Daniels had a three-point play that helped the hosts come within 15-17. But Othello Hunter banked one in from close range, and Daniel Hackett split free throws to make it 15-20 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Olympiacos hits from downtown to pull away
Frejus Zerbo scored inside to start the second, and after Athinaiou nailed a corner triple, Daniels matched it with another three-point play, 20-23. But Printezis made his trademark baseline floater, and Athinaiou drove the baseline for an easy layup. Traore had a dunk, but Printezis and Hunter each scored inside extended to the lead to 22-32. Traore answered with another basket from close range, and added a pair of free throws to the tally. However, Papapetrou drove the baseline for a reverse layup before Athinaiou and Printezis knocked down back-to-back triples that opened a 27-40 margin. After a Limoges timeout, Nobel Boungo-Colo scored an easy layup, but Printezis matched it with soft touch on a tough off-balance floater. Traore buried a jumper, and in the final seconds, Strawberry drove for a layup in the crowd, but Heiko Schaffartzik had enough time to launch and hit a half-court buzzer-beater, making it 36-46 at halftime.
Third quarter: Limoges makes a run, but Olympiacos answers back
Traore made 3 of 4 from the foul line early in the third, but Printezis dished it to Milutinov for a big slam and Hackett hit a turnaround jumper that made it 39-50. Traore kept pouring it in, making a mid-range jumper, and Westermann followed with a triple that cut it to 44-50. But Mantzaris made a corner triple, before Papapetrou and Strawberry each added one of his own to help open 46-61 margin. Michalis Tsairelis made a second-chance basket, and after Schaffartzik scored for the hosts, Hunter made it 48-65 at the end of the quarter.
Fourth quarter: Olympiacos cruises to victory
Papapetrou’s corner triple broke the 20-point barrier. Traore and Tsairelis traded baskets inside, before Westermann hit a three-pointer, 53-70. But baskets were few and far between as game was closing to its end. Traore got hurt and left the game with five minutes to go, and it took teams more than two minutes to score again, as Camara banked one in high of the glass. But Hackett nailed a triple to make it 55-73, as Olympiacos was closing the deal. After Camara scored inside, Hackett hit it from downtown again, making it 57-76. Matt Gatens fought for a put-back, then delivered back-to-back triples, but it was too little too late for Limoges, which finished the game on an 11-0 run.
Thursday, December 10, 2015