Martin leads Olympiacos to road win
Olympiacos Piraeus grabbed its second road win of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season by downing previously undefeated Zenit St Petersburg 66-75 at Sibur Arena on Thursday. Olympiacos improved to 4-3 in the standings while Zenit dropped to 2-1. Hassan Martin led the winners with 16 points. Shaquielle McKissic added 10 and four of his Olympiacos teammates had at least 7 points. Billy Baron led Zenit with 13 points, all in the fourth quarter, while Austin Hollins added 12 for the hosts, who rallied from a 16-point deficit to get within 60-63. Sasha Vezenkov struck from downtown then and McKissic added a huge dunk to make sure that Olympiacos returned home with a road victory.
Martin got Olympiacos going with a layup but Hollins answered from downtown. Kostas Papanikolaou and Charles Jenkins buried three-pointers and Martin scored again for Olympiacos but Kevin Pangos and Hollins kept the hosts within 9-10. Martin kept pacing the Reds, getting help from Livio Jean-Charles and Kostas Sloukas to boost the visitors' lead to 11-17. Hollins struck twice from beyond the arc and K.C. Rivers scored off a steal to put Zenit in charge, 20-19, after 10 minutes. Arturas Gudaitis dunked early in the second quarter. Octavius Ellis followed a turnaround jumper with a layup for a 22-23 Olympiacos lead. Rivers buried a triple but Vassilis Spanoulis and Vezenkov kept the guests ahead, 25-29. McKissic took over with a three-point play, then Georgios Printezis and Spanoulis combined for 6 points in a 0-10 run that made it a double-digit Olympiacos advantage, 27-41, at halftime. Pangos and Papanikolaou exchanged three-pointers soon after the break, then Gudaitis and Mateusz Ponitka brought Zenit within 36-44. Jean-Charles stepped up with a put-back basket and Martin added 4 points in a 0-7 run that extended Olympiacos's lead to 36-51. McKissic bettered Ponitka's driving layup with a bomb from downtown. Will Thomas joined the three-point shootout but Papanikolaou and Jean-Charles kept Olympiacos fully in charge, 43-58, after 30 minutes. Martin hit a jump hook early in the fourth quarter that Baron answered with consecutive three-pointers, giving Zenit hope at 49-60. Alex Poythress followed a layup with an alley-oop slam in a 12-0 run the Baron capped with a fastbreak basket. Spanoulis silenced the crowd with a triple but Baron and Andrey Zubkov got the hosts within striking distance, 60-63, with 4 minutes left. Vezenkov buried a big three-pointer and McKissic added a show-stopping dunk in traffic. Martin scored down low to seal the outcome, 60-70, as Zenit did not recover in the final 2 minutes.
Martin had a near-perfect performance, leading Olympiacos to a big road win. He finished the game with 16 points on 7-for-7 two-point shooting while making 2 of 2 free throws, adding 3 rebounds and a steal for a PIR of 15.
Thomas scored down low to bring Zenit within 27-31. Spanoulis connected with Printezis for a layup and then scored in penetration. It was the start of a 0-10 run in which Printezis hit his trademark jump hook and both Vezenkov and Giannoulis Larentzakis made free throws. After that, Olympiacos led 27-41 at halftime and never trailed again.
Two-point shots made the difference in this game, especially in the first half. Olympiacos hit 20-of-26 shots inside the arc (55.6%) and limited Zenit to just 10-of-25 (40.0%). At halftime, Olympiacos had made 12 of 19 two-pointers (63.2%) and Zenit just 4 of 14 (28.6%).
Did you know?
It was Olympiacos's first-ever win against Zenit. Both teams had never faced each other until last season, when Zenit managed to beat the Reds twice: 68-77 in overtime at Peace and Friendship Stadium and 91-87 at Sibur Arena.
Both teams return to EuroLeague action next week. Zenit plays twice, in fact. It hosts AX Armani Exchange Milan in a rescheduled game on Wednesday, November 11 and visits LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne on Friday, November 13. In between, Olympiacos welcomes ALBA Berlin to Piraeus on Thursday.
Thursday, November 5, 2020