Schortsanitis's double-double sends PAOK to Last 32
PAOK Thessaloniki made it to the Eurocup Last 32 by downing Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius 81-88 in the Lithuanian capital in Group E on Wednesday. PAOK finished the regular season with a 5-5 record, was third in Group E and will keep fighting for Eurocup glory. Rytas was sixth in this group with a 2-8 record. Sofoklis Schortsanitis led the winners with 23 points on 10-of-14 two-point shots and 10 rebounds. William Hatcher added 18 points while Kostas Vasileiadis had 17 for PAOK. Ksistof Lavrinovic led Rytas with 18 points. Adas Juskevicius added 15, Gediminas Orelik had 12 while Antanas Kavaliauskas and Deividas Gailius each had 10 for the hosts. Orelik shined early to give Rytas an 8-4 lead but Vasileadis, Milenko Tepic and Schortsanitis helped PAOK get a 23-25 edge after 10 minutes. Kavaliauskas led a 9-0 Rytas run to give the hosts a 32-27 lead. Schortsanitis took over with 11 points late in the first half but Kavaliauskas, Rokas Geidraitis and Adas Juskevicius kept Rytas ahead, 50-45, at the break. Schortsanitis kept pacing PAOK after the break, leading an 0-8 run which gave the guests a 56-60 margin. Juskevicius had 5 points in a 10-0 Rytas run that allowed the hosts to regain a 68-64 margin after 30 minutes. Uros Duvnjak downed three critical three-point shots late in the fourth quarter to make sure PAOK advanced to the next round.
Hatcher got PAOK going with a four-meter jumper but Kavaliauskas matched with a layup and Orelik struck twice from downtown for an 8-4 Rytas lead. Evangelos Margaritis hit a three-pointer and consecutive baskets by Tepic gave PAOK an 8-11 lead. Gailius stepped up with a put-back layup, Schortsanitis hit free throws and a running jumper by Vasileiadis boosted the guests' lead to 10-15. Gailius scored again and Lavrinovic followed free throws with a layup to make PAOK call timeout at 16-17. Nikola Markovic scored in penetration and Vasileadis added a triple for a 18-22 PAOK lead. Gailius and Vasileadis exchanged triples and a six-meter jumper by Lavrinovic kept Rytas within 23-25 after 10 minutes. Markovic shined with a driving layup early in the second quarter. Kavaliauskas scored in the paint, igniting a 9-0 run which he capped with another layup to give Rytas a 32-27 lead. Kostas Kakaroudis stepped up with a jumper but Juskevicius did better with a bomb from downtown. Hatcher hit foul shots, Kavaliauskas scored again and a triple by Georgios Dedas kept PAOK within 37-34. Giedraitis dunked and got help from Juskevicius to extend the hosts' lead to 41-34. Schortsanitis rescued PAOK with three consecutive layups but Kavaliauskas and Orelik kept Rytas way ahead, 45-40. An unstoppable Schortsanitis followed a power layup with a three-point play but Lavrinovic and Giedraitis gave the hosts a 50-45 margin at halftime.
Nico Laprovittola nailed a three-pointer right after the break and a driving layup by Tepic kept PAOK within 53-47. The guests improved their defense and a corner triple by Vasileiadis made it a three-point game, 53-50. Schortsanitis hit a jump hook off a spin move but Lavrinovic did better with a bomb from downtown. Schortsanitis followed a dunk with a jump hook and free throws by Vasileiadis put PAOK back in charge, 56-58. Vasileiadis downed a six-meter jumper but Juskevicius had 5 points in a 10-0 run that he capped with a triple to make PAOK call timeout at 66-60. Orelik scored in penetration but Hatcher followed free throws with a step-back jumper for a 68-64 PAOK deficit after 30 minutes. Hatcher struck from downtown early in the fourth quarter but a jump hook by Lavrinovic gave the hosts a 70-67 lead. Hatcher kept pacing PAOK with consecutive layups and a step-back triple that gave the guests a 70-74 edge with 6 minutes left. Duvnjak joined the three-point shootout, Lavrinovic nailed a jump hook and a free throw by Markovic extended the guests' lead to 72-78. Schortsanitis scored down low, Juskevicius improved that with a triple but Duvnjak answered from downtown to seal the outcome, 75-83, with 3 minutes left. Markovic dunked off a midcourt steal and another three-pointer by Duvnjak allowed PAOK to start celebrating a go-ahead road win.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015