Reds hold on for Greek derby win
Olympiacos Piraeus led from start to finish in downing its arch-rival Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 71-78 on the road in the Greek capital on Friday night. Both teams now hold 1-1 records in the young Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season. Olympiacos opened a double-digit lead in the first quarter, and led by as many as 15 in the second. Panathinaikos started charging back late in the third, but the Reds never allowed the hosts closer than 4 points. Georgios Printezis led the victory by scoring 17 points in 20 minutes. Shaquielle McKissic was the only other Olympiacos player in double figures with 10 points, while Ocatvius Ellis pulled down 13 rebounds. Marcus Foster paced Panathinaikos with 15 points, and Ioannis Papapetrou scored 14 in a losing effort.
It took a while for the teams to get going. Printezis scored twice from close range to kickstart the visitors, while Panathinaikos needed almost 5 minutes to open their scoring. The Reds continued to pull away with McKissic and Kostas Sloukas feeding big men Ellis and Hassan Martin inside, and Printezis outside to make it 7-19. Zach Auguste replied with 5 quick points for the hosts, but Vassilis Spanoulis ended the first quarter with a triple, and Charles Jenkins hit from downtown to open the second, making it 12-25. Foster drove to score and Papapetrou hit from long range for Panathinaikos, but Sasha Vezenkov had some timely offensive boards, before Spanoulis and Jenkins drove to the basket to open a 18-33 lead. The Greens' cut into the lead with Foster's three-point play and Leonidas Kaselakis adding 4 points, and after Vezenkov knocked down a three-pointer, Aaron White and Kaselakis struck to make it 35-44 at halftime. A three from Foster and a pair of close-range baskets from Papapetrou cut it to 42-48 early in the third, but the visitors answered with a 0-7 run, capped by two clever Printezis close-range baskets, before a triple from Sloukas made it 44-58 midway through the third. But Papapetrou put urgency into the hosts, Foster hit a triple, before Howard Sant-Roos and Nemanja Nedovic had fastbreak dunks in the last 20 seconds of the quarter to cut the gap to 57-62. Panathinaikos got closer with a put-back dunk from Sant-Roos, 60-64. However, McKissic strung together 6 points to restore a double-digit margin with just over 3 minutes remaining. Nedovic gave the Greens some hope with a triple and a driving layup, getting the hosts within 69-73 and 2 minutes left in the game. But Aaron Harrison answered with a runner, and the Greens never got closer the rest of the way.
Olympiacos did not shoot well from long range, making just 18.5% (5-for-27), but the Reds did convert 63.2% of their two-point shots. Georgios Printezis, Hassan Martin and Octavius Ellis combined to shoot 14-for-16 from close range.
Vezenkov steps up
Sasha Vezenkov had an important role in the Olympiacos win as he finished with 9 points, 8 rebounds – including 4 offensive boards – and 2 steals in a strong performance.
Reds enjoy derby edge
This was the seventh Olympiacos win in the last 10 Greek derbies, and the first road win in this rivalry since March 2018.
In Round 3, Panathiniakos will already be in action on Tuesday when it visits LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, while Olympiacos plays on Wednesday with a home game against AX Armani Exchange Milan.
Friday, October 9, 2020