Olympiacos hands Milan first defeat
Olympiacos Piraeus came from behind on its home floor for a 86-75 victory that meant the first loss this season for visiting AX Armani Exchange Milan. An explosive 27-16 third quarter changed the game after the Reds had trailed 36-42 at halftime. Olympiacos improved to 2-1 while Milan dropped to the same record. Kostas Sloukas masterminded the victory with 17 points and 11 assists in 36 minutes. marking his first double-double in an Olympiacos uniform. Georgios Printezis and Aaron Harrison scored 16 each while Shaquielle McKissic added 10, 8 of them in the turnaround third quarter. Sergio Rodriguez led Milan with 18 points, while Michael Roll came next with 16 and Zach LeDay added 10.
Kostas Papanikolaou hit twice among 5 two-pointers without a miss for the hosts as they led 10-8. LeDay answered from deep before Rodriguez drilled twice from the same distance to put Milan in front 15-19. Printezis beating the buzzer with a triple to cut the difference to 18-21 after 10 minutes. Vassilis Spanoulis busted his first attempt, a three-pointer, to give Olympiacos a 23-21 lead before a flurry of free throws and LeDay's coast-to-coast layup sent the visitors up 25-30. Another triple and a drop shot by Rodriguez pushed Milan's advantage to 32-39. Then he came back with a stellar shot from deep for a 36-42 halftime score. McKissic fed Printezis twice in transition early in the second half. He and Luigi Datome traded triples but then McKissick added a three-point play and fed Sloukas for a triple as Olympiacos suddenly surged in front 49-48. The lead went back and forth until McKissick fed Harrison in the corner at 55-53. Harrison and McKissic added baskets before Roll's second triple calmed Milan. Hassan Martin exploded a dunk before Roll and Sloukas exchanged free throws for a 63-58 score after 30 minutes. Harrison's three-pointer in transition opened the fourth quarter and Sloukas soon followed for a 69-60 lead. Rodriguez and Charles Jenkins traded triples and Printezis inadvertently scored for Milan at 72-65. Martin's put-back and McKissic's free throws supplied the game's first double-digit lead, 76-65, with under 5 minutes left. Harrison hit from the arc, but Roll did it twice to trim the gap to 79-73 with 2 minutes left. Printezis calmed the hosts with layup to which Sloukas added a jumper at 83-74 with 1:25 to play that settled matters.
Olympiacos coughed up 10 turnovers in the first half and then Printezis stepped on the sideline for the second time early in the second, bringing the Reds to the brink of their 11.5 average coming into the game, which was third-best in the league. From that moment forward, however, they committed just 1 turnover in 18 minutes while taking control of the game the rest of the way. Their final total of 12 was 4 below what Milan had forced on opponents through the first two games.
Chacho's perfect half
Sergio Rodriguez of Milan could not have had a much better first half. In fact, he was almost infallible, scoring 15 points in 9:18 with no misses on 2 two-pointers, 3 triples and 2 free throws, plus 3 rebounds, an assist and a steal while drawing 2 fouls and, alas, committing 2 as well, for a halftime PIR of 20.
McKissic's boost for Reds
Olympiacos swingman Shaquielle McKissic started but sat after the game's first 100 seconds with 2 fouls. When he returned after halftime, however, he fueled the Olympiacos turnaround, first stealing a rebound and feeding Printezis full-court. He would go on to scored 6 points and assist Sloukas for a triple in a 9-0 run that put Olympiacos in the lead and supplied all the momentum to take over the scoreboard the rest of the way.
Martin channeling Hines
A no less helpful contribution came from Hassan Martin, whose 8 rebounds gave Olympiacos a 31-25 edge on the boards. Martin, a 2.01-meter center, looked like a 25-year-old version of the player he was going up against and who once patrolled the same terrain for the Reds, none other than Kyle Hines.
Olympiacos stays home to host Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv on Friday as former coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos returns to Piraeus with the visitors. Also on Friday, Milan goes home to host Real Madrid, head coach Ettore Messina's former team.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020