Zalgiris rallies to sweep Panathinaikos
In a hard-fought battle, Zalgiris Kaunas rallied from a first-half double-digit deficit to down visiting Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 82-69 at the Zalgirio Arena on Friday night. With this win Zalgiris swept Panathinaikos to take a tie-break advantage. Currently, both teams stand at 8-11 in a four-way share of ninth place in the standings. Zalgiris used a 13-0 spurt to open the third quarter and take the lead for good, and a 10-2 run to open the fourth and pave the way to victory. Aaron White scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half, and Marius Grigonis netted 13. Brandon Davies and Nate Wolters contributed with 10 points apiece for Zalgiris. DeShaun Thomas paced Panathinaikos with 14 points, Nick Calathes had 11 points and 6 assists, and Sean Kilpatrick also scored 11 on his debut.
Thomas scored in transition from close range and long range to get Panathinaikos going, before fastbreak buckets from Matt Lojeski and Thanasis Antetokounmpo made it 8-17. Baskets from Paulius Jankunas cut it to 13-19 after 10 minutes, but Kilpatrick opened the second quarter with a triple to help extend it to 16-26. However, Zalgiris replied as a triple from Derrick Walton sparked an 11-0 run, which included a pair of baskets from Brandon Davies and a fastbreak dunk by Deon Thompson to give Zalgiris its first lead, 27-26. Panathinaikos had an answer, as Nikos Pappas hit a triple and Konstantinos Mitoglou had a fastbreak basket to take 33-37 into the break. However, Zalgiris stormed out of the gate in the third quarter. While holding Panathinaikos scoreless for more than 5 minutes, Edgaras Ulanovas had a three-pointer before Aaron White took over, scoring 7 consecutive points to open a 46-37 lead. Kilpatrick snapped the 13-0 run, getting the visitors going, and a triple from Calathes helped cut it to 48-46. But the hosts remained in front, 52-51 after three quarters, then scored the first 7 points of the fourth with a run capped by Wolters’ triple. A three-point play by Thomas Walkup opened 62-53, before a three-pointer from Grigonis and an alley-oop from Walton to White extended it to 76-61 with 2:13 to go, sealing the deal.
Zalgiris stormed out of the gate in the third quarter with a 13-0 run, holding Panathinaikos without a basket for 5 minutes and 11 seconds. Meanwhile, Edgaras Ulanovas nailed a triple, Marius Grigonis followed up with a three-point play before Aaron White scored 7 consecutive points, including a triple and a pair of dunks to open a 46-37 lead. The visitors did not go away, but Zalgiris never relinquished the lead.
Zalgiris scored 33 points in the first half, but finished by putting up 30 points in the fourth quarter alone.
Panathinaikos made defensive stops and controlled the boards in the first half, allowing them to run the floor and score 18 transition points before halftime. But things changed in the second half. Zalgiris committed just 3 turnovers after halftime, and Panathinaikos scored just 4 more points in transition.
Did you know?
This was the 26th meeting between these two teams, and the 13th season they met in the EuroLeague – having played four games in the 1990s and 22 times since the turn of the century. This is the very first season Zalgiris swept Panathinaikos.
Next week in Round 20 both teams will be on the road on Thursday. Panathinaikos visits Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv, while Zalgiris travels to play AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan.
Friday, January 18, 2019