Baskonia grabs first win by downing Panathinaikos in thriller
Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz gained its first win of the season by overcoming Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 81-79 in a thriller that came down to the final shot at Fernando Buesa Arena on Tuesday. The first half swung back and forth with both teams enjoying small leads, never bigger than 6 points. Baskonia was briefly ahead by 11 early in the second half, but Panathinaikos battled back and the lead continued to regularly change hands before free throws from Jayson Granger gave Baskonia the win – but only after Ioannis Papapetrou missed a three-pointer on the final buzzer. Rokas Giedraitis and Simone Fontecchio led the way with 16 points apiece for Baskonia, while Tadas Sedekerskis added 15 and Jayson Granger paired 12 points with 9 rebounds. Papapetrou paced Panathinaikos with 22 points and Daryl Macon added 13. Both teams now have 1-2 records.
Baskonia started strong inside with scores from Giedraitis and Landry Nnoko. Giedraitis added a mid-range jumper for a 6-0 lead before Macon got Panathinaikos on the scoreboard with a triple and then added a good finish in penetration. Giedraitis and Fontecchio netted from deep to keep Baskonia ahead, but Kendrick Perry scored 5 points on consecutive possessions to tie it up and then added a long two on the buzzer to make it 15-17 after 10 minutes.
Steven Enoch’s alley-oop and mid-range strike opened the second quarter, before Nemanja Nedovic and Wade Baldwin IV traded triples. Fontecchio was also again on target from long-range, before Jeremy Evans and Enoch both dunked to keep it close, 27-26. Evans threw down consecutive dunks on either side of a Sedekerskis three-pointer to briefly move ahead, but Giedraitis hit a three and Sedekerskis beat the buzzer with another to end the first half with a 40-35 Baskonia lead.
Granger, Papapetrou and Fontecchio all made three-pointers at the start of the second half and Granger struck again from deep for a 49-38 advantage. Dunks from Georgios Papagiannis and Perry brought Panathinaikos closer and 5 straight points from Papapetrou made it 51-49. Okaro White and Papapetrou both hit from deep to tie it up, 55-55. Sedekerskis and Giedraitis tried to reignite Baskonia, before White scored inside for Panathinaikos’s first lead of the half, 57-59. That didn’t last long, as Vanja Marinkovic struck at the third-quarter buzzer for a 61-59 lead.
Leonidas Kaselakis immediately made it 61-61 and Howard Sant-Roos added a three-point and a three-pointer for a 65-67 Panathinaikos edge despite two scores from Granger. Sedekerskis forced another lead change from long distance and Fontecchio again hit from distance to make it 73-69. Papapetrou scored twice to keep Panathinaikos close, but Sedekerskis tipped in for a 75-71 lead with 2 minutes left. Macon and Giedraitis made free throws and Macon hit a tough triple, pulling it back to 77-76 with a minute to play. Fontecchio’s foul shots were bettered by another Macon triple, 79-79. Granger’s free throws sent Baskonia ahead again, and Papapetrou’s attempted game-winner on the final buzzer was short.
Sedekerskis celebrates milestone
Bskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz’s Tadas Sedekerskis reached the milestone of his 50th appearance in the competition, and the 23-year-old Lithuanian forward marked the occasion with his best EuroLeague performance to date. Sedekerskis scored a career-high 15 points without missing a shot – 3-of-3 from both two and three-point range – and added 6 rebounds and 1 assist for a PIR of 22, another new personal best. He received plenty of help from Rokas Giedraitis with 16 points and 5 rebounds, and Baskonia’s Lithuanian combination looks like becoming a key to their success this season.
Offensive rebounds boost Baskonia
A major factor for the home team’s victory was a series of key offensive rebounds for Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz in the latter stages. As the game headed towards a thrillingly close climax, Baskonia grabbed 3 offensive boards in one possession which eventually ended with a tip-in from Tadas Sedekerskis for a 75-71 lead. The next and final three possessions also saw the host grab offensive rebounds – one apiece from Rokas Giedraitis, Simone Fontecchio and Jayson Granger – and they were all followed by fouls which led to 6 successful free throw conversions, eventually deciding the outcome.
Three buzzer-beaters…but not four
A curious aspect of the game between Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz and Panathinaikos OPAP Athens was that the first, second and third quarters all ended with buzzer-beating shots. Kendrick Perry hit a long two for the Greens at the end of the first, Tadas Sedekerskis bettered that with a triple for Baskonia just before halftime and Vanja Marinkovic – with his only basket of the night – also hit a three at the end of the third quarter. Sadly for Panathinaikos, that trend did not continue into the fourth quarter as the otherwise outstanding Ioannis Papapetrou missed a chance to win the game from deep on the final buzzer.
Tuesday, October 12, 2021