Olympiacos returns to its winning ways by romping in Vitoria
Two-time defending champ Olympiacos Piraeus used one of the best-ever scoring halves in Top 16 history en route to a 70-89 road win over Laboral Kutxa Vitoria on Friday night. Behind brilliant play of the reigning MVP Vassilis Spanoulis and hot shooting hand of Matt Lojeski, the two-time champs displayed an offensive clinic in the first half. Hitting 9 three-pointers on 13 attempts, and scoring at will, the Reds build a 38-59 halftime lead. The 59 first half points is second-most in Top 16 history only to Maccabi Electra’s 61 from last season. A 0-11 run at the start of the second put Olympiacos up 40-70, and there was no coming back for the hosts. Lojeski scored 16 of his 17 points in the first half, and Spanoulis finished with 13 points and 7 assists. Bryant Dunston scored 14, and Stratos Perperoglou chipped in with 11 in victory. Thomas Huertel had 12 points and 6 assists for Laboral, and David Jelinek also scored 12. Andres Nocioni added 11, and Ilimane Diop collected 10 points plus 7 rebounds for the hosts.
First quarter: Spanoulis takes control in an early 5-22 charge
Nocioni knocked down a three at the start of the game, but Stratos Perperoglou and Mirza Begic each scored from close range for Olympiacos. Nocioni answered driving through the crowd for a layup-plus-foul, before Heurtel pulled up for a jumper, then threw it up for Tibor Pleiss's alley-oop dunk and a 10-4 lead. After an Olympiacos timeout, Spanoulis drove for a layup, and Begic added a put-back dunk. A corner three-pointer from Lojeski helped put the Reds in front 12-13. Fabien Causeur made a steal and raced for a fastbreak layup, snapping Laboral's drought from the field, but Spanoulis drove for a layup-plus-free throw, then dished it for another Lojeski triple. Both teams pushed the ball down the floor, and the visitors had more success with it, as a breakaway triple from Spanoulis made it 14-22. Despite a timeout by Coach Sergio Scariolo, Dunston extended it to double digits with a basket from close range. Lamont Hamilton split free throws for the hosts, but Spanoulis assisted Dunston for another easy bucket and a 15-26 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Second quarter: Olympiacos opens up big margin
Spanoulis opened the second quarter with a triple, capping a 1-16 run. The hosts tried to disrupt the champ's rhythm with zone defense, while on the other end Walter Hodge was fouled behind the arc and sank all 3 free throws. But Lojeski kept Olympiacos in the double-digit margin with a put-back, before Begic made a dunk and Brent Petway buried a triple, both baskets on Spanoulis assists, for huge 18-36 advantage. Hodge made a couple more free throws for the hosts, but Lojeski hit a mid-range jumper. Pleiss scored from close range and Nocioni followed it driving the baseline for a reverse layup. Heurtel hit a jumper for a 26-40 lead, but Georgios Printezis sank a triple for the visitors. Heurtel stayed hot with back-to-back jumpers, but Lojeski hit a triple in between for a 30-46 lead midway through the second. The hosts tried to get it going on defense, applying full-court pressure, and Nocioni sank a tough triple. But the Reds kept raining threes, with Kostas Sloukas and Dimitrios Katsivelis hitting from long range to lead 33-55. Heurtel made both free throws and Ilimane Diop had a dunk for Laboral, but Printezis and Sloukas made shots for the Reds to lead 38-59 at halftime.
Third quarter: Olympiacos runs wild with 0-11 spurt
Jelinek made a pair of free throws to open the third quarter, but Dunston made a tough layup to spark another Olympiacos run. Perperoglou added a triple and a layup before Dunston capped it with a pair of dunks, one on each side of Scariolo’s timeout, for a 40-70 lead. Diop snapped a 0-11 run with a layup, and Jelinek made a pair of free throws. After Dunston made a layup for Olympiacos, Jelinek hit a three, and Huertel scored for two, helping cut it to 51-73. Mardy Collins made a triple to snap Laboral’s run, and before the quarter’s end Jelinek made another jumper for Laboral, but the visitors still held a 53-78 advantage.
Fourth quarter: Laboral closes the gap, but Olympiacos wins big
The fourth quarter started with a fastbreak layup from Collins. Giuseppe Poeta nailed a triple for Laboral, and after Sloukas drove for a reverse layup, Diop made a dunk, 58-82. The hosts cut the deficit some more with free throws from Devon Van Oostrum, and another layup form Diop. After Poeta drove for a layup and scored 2 free throws, the deficit was cut to 66-82. Perperoglou snapped a 10-0 run with couple of shots from the foul line, and after Diop scored another easy layup, Olympiacos grabbed a couple of offensive rebounds, and Perperoglou drove baseline for a layup to get the game into the final minute, before Van Oostrum’s layup, and Dunston’s jumper rounded out the scoring.
Friday, January 24, 2014