Olympiacos outlasted Gescrap BB 88-81
Vassilis Spanoulis scored 18 of his Euroleague career-high 29 points to lead Olympiacos to a crucial 88-81 victory over Gescrap BB on Wednesday at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Piraeus, Greece. Spanoulis scored the go-ahead basket, assisted on the bucket that put the Reds up 9 and helped seal the win with 4 free throws in the final minute as Olympiacos survived to improve to 3-3 in tightly wound Group A. The loss dropped Gescrap to 2-4. Olympiacos jumped ahead to a 19-9 start, but Bilbao came back to within 45-42 by halftime and led for much of the third quarter. Alas Spanoulis turned up at his best in the fourth quarter to steer Olympiacos to victory. Kyle Hines added 18 points and 7 rebounds for the winners and Pero Antic scored 13. Alex Mumbru paced Gescrap with 17 points, Marko Banic scored 15, Janis Blums 14 and Aaron Jackson finished with 13 and 4 assists.
Gescrap won the opening tip and Banic soon had the visitors on the scoreboard. Antic struck from downtown to quickly put the Reds on top. After Mumbru and Antic traded triples and veterans Roger Grimau and Spanoulis generated points, the hosts started to pull away. Antic fed Marko Keselj for a slam, Kalin Lucas scored on the break, Antic connected again from behind the arc and Lazaros Papadopoulos scored underneath before Antic’s first basket in the paint capped an 11-2 charge that gave Olympiacos a 19-9 advantage. Mumbru corrected his own miss to end the Bilbao scoring shortage and regain some momentum. Blums nailed a three and Banic and D’Or Fischer scored down low to shrink the deficit to 22-18. The pace slowed with a technical foul on Blums and an unsportsmanlike foul on Papadopoulos for stopping a fast break. Fischer made it a 2-point game with a pair slam, though a Kostas Papanikolau triple helped the hosts keep a 27-24 edge after 10 minutes.
Hines and former Olympiacos forward Kostas Vasiliadis opened the second quarter with baskets for their respective teams. Blums followed with a three to even things at 29-29. Hines continued pumping in points for the Reds and Georgios Printezis nailed a three from the corner, but then Blums hit from behind the arc to put Gescrap ahead for the first time since the opening minutes, 36-38. Antic and Hines worked hard at each end to tie the score again before Spanoulis got to the basket and pushed the home team’s lead to 4. Spanoulis added 3 free throws to pad the lead, but Mumbru countered with 2 to make it 45-42 at halftime.
Mumbru twice closed the gap to a single point in the first few minutes of the second half and Banic sank a baseline jumper to do the same, but Olympiacos answered each time. After a Printezis triple, Banic scored three the hard way to tie the score and then put Gescrap ahead 52-53 with the resulting free throw. Jackson used an athletic move and a fast break layup for his first two baskets to stretch the Bilbao run to 0-9. Papanikolaou converted a basket-plus-foul, but Jackson’s hot hand kept Gescrap in front. Mumbru scored an uncontested layup to put the lead at 55-61. Hines worked hard to bring the Reds back within 1 and his block on Jackson kept it 60-61 through three quarters.
Vasiliadis nailed a triple from the top of the key to boost Bilbao at the start of the fourth quarter. Spanoulis and Hines came alive to spark the Reds. The guard’s triple made it a 1-point game before he set up Hines to put Olympiacos on top 67-66. Jackson and Spanoulis traded baskets before Spanoulis sank a clutch triple that lifted his team to 72-68. Banic answered with a deep two to keep Gescrap in the hunt midway through the fourth. Spanoulis hit from downtown and then got to the line for his 12th point in the first 5:05 of the quarter. Spanoulis then found a cutting Antic to make it 79-70. Blums managed 3 points over two possessions and after a Spanoulis pull-up jumper Jackson fueled life into the game at 81-76 with two minutes to go. But Bilbao lost the ball on a fast break and Lucas hit 1 from the line. Still Jackson scored in transition to get to 82-78 with a minute remaining. But Spanoulis got to the line and with 48.9 seconds left, sank 2 free throws. Mumbru kept Bilbao alive with a clutch three, but Jackson accidentally tripped Spanoulis while going for a steal and Spanoulis took care of business with 2 more free throws with 17 seconds to go. Any remaining doubts left were erased with Papanikolaou’s steal and slam to seal the victory.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011