Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul bounced back into winning ways with a commanding 87-96 victory at Olympiacos Piraeus, overshadowing Vassilis Spanoulis’s achievement in moving past Juan Carlos Navarro as the competition’s all-time scoring leader. The visitors surged ahead to a double-digit lead by halftime through outstanding three-point shooting, were up by 19 early in the third quarter and a masterclass from Nando De Colo proved enough to repel the home team’s attempted comeback. De Colo paced the winners with 32 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting, while Kostas Sloukas provided plenty of support with 14 points, 9 assists and 4 steals. Luigi Datome (15 points) and Derrick Williams (13) also impressed for the visiting team, which came within one three-pointer of a club record after making 16 of 29 long-range shots. Spanoulis paced Olympiacos with 14 points and 8 assists to move clear of Navarro’s all-time mark, while Georgios Printezis also scored 14. Nikola Milutinov (11), Kostas Papanikolaou (11), Brandon Paul (11), Willie Reed (10) and Will Cherry (10) also reached double digits in defeat. The teams are now tied with 6-11 records at the midway point of the season.
Free throws gave Olympiacos an early lead before Cherry and De Colo exchanged three-pointers. Nikola Kalinic scored twice, but a mid-range jumper and a driving layup from Spanoulis kept the hosts ahead. Printezis made a three-point play, however inside strikes from Sloukas, Datome and Melih Mahmutoglu kept it close. After Papanikolaou and Sloukas traded triples, Sloukas connected with a heave from his own half for a 20-22 lead at the end of the first quarter. Mahmutoglu’s triple completed a 0-9 run before Taylor Rochestie reignited Olympiacos. Williams scored twice, including a big alley-oop slam, and Mahmutoglu made another long-range shot for a 26-35 lead. A trio of dunks by Reed brought Olympiacos back, but a pair of De Colo triples made it a double-digit game, 36-46. The French guard struck twice more before the break, giving his team a 40-52 interval lead.
Fenerbahce scored 9 of the second half’s first 11 points, with De Colo and Datome both netting from deep, but Olympiacos rallied by feeding the ball inside as Printezis, Papanikolaou, Milutinov and Cherry all scored in a 13-2 run. The hosts pulled it back to 61-65 as Cherry and Paul both scored from steals, but De Colo converted a put-back and a triple before Datome beat the third-quarter buzzer for a 61-74 lead. After Spanoulis struck an off-balance triple at the start of the fourth, Leo Westermann answered with his own deep strike before Williams and Datome penetrated and Westermann netted another triple to make it 66-84. Paul’s triple gave Olympiacos hope, but Williams scored twice to maintain a safe margin. Spanoulis broke Navarro’s record with a trademark triple and then drove to score for 82-90 with 90 seconds remaining. De Colo’s layup sealed the outcome.
Spanoulis strikes late to break record
This game will be forever remembered for Vassilis Spanoulis breaking Juan Carlos Navarro’s all-time EuroLeague scoring record. It didn’t always look like happening, though: Spanoulis netted 4 points inside the first 5 minutes, but did not score again until the first play of the final quarter. A two-pointer then saw him draw level with Navarro, before he broke the record with a trademark triple over Derrick Williams.
On the night his former teammate was supposed to take the limelight, Kostas Sloukas helped Fenerbahce steal Spanoulis’s thunder with an excellent all-round display. He was particularly influential in the first quarter, scoring 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting and adding 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal.
Three-pointers spark Fenerbahce
Fenerbahce was trailing 17-12 towards the end of the first quarter but then surged ahead thanks to a flurry of three-pointers. Sloukas (twice) and Melih Matmuhoglu were on target in a 0-9 run exclusively consisting of triples, before Luigi Datome, Mahmutoglu, Derrick Williams and Nando De Colo added further deep strikes to give the visitors 10-of-14 three-point shooting in the first half. The long-range scoring slowed after the break, but 5-of-8 from De Colo allowed the visitors to finish with 16 triples, one short of the club record.
Fenerbahce begins the second half of the regular season with a road trip to face KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz on Thursday, January 9, before Olympiacos travels to face Valencia Basket the following night.
Thursday, January 2, 2020