Olympiacos eliminated Spirou 67-80
In a rare Monday game that came with major consequences, Olympiacos Piraeus clinched its own Top 16 ambitions and those of three other teams by stopping the dream of Spirou Basket with a commanding 67-80 road win in Charleroi, Belgium. Olympiacos improved to 6-3 and will at least share first place going into the 10th and final week of the regular season. Spirou, meanwhile, fell to 3-6, which means it cannot catch three more teams above it - Lottomatica Roma, Real Madrid and Unicaja - all of whom also qualified for the Top 16 with the victory by Olympiacos. The stars of the visiting team took turns taking over the game. Ioannis Bourousis scoed 15 first-quarter points on his way to a team-high 19. Vassilis Spanoulis followed with 18 points and 6 assists, while Milos Teodosic was right behind with 16 and 4, respectively. Rasho Nesterovic added 11 rebounds for Olympiacos, which was ahead the entire game after 3-2 and a brief second-quarter tie. Spirou got 16 points from Demond Mallet, 13 from Chris Hill and 12 from Joseph Gomis, but its big men were shut down completely by the Olympiacos defense, ending what was an enjoyable Euroleague season nonetheless for the fans in Charleroi.
Loukas Mavrokefalidis hit free throws to start the scoreboard for the visitors. Spirou finished an extended possession with Mallet drilling the game's first triple from the corner for a 3-2 lead. Bourousis scored inside, but Justin Hamilton answered with a driving layup. Marko Keselj popped a jumper from the lane before Bouroussis stuck a triple from the top as the Reds jumped ahead 5-11. Next, Spanoulis fed Bouroussis and made his own left-handed layup to raise the difference to 7-15. After a timeout, Bouroussis came back to down a hook shot that made it a double-digit difference. Spirou leader Andre Riddick came on the floor and fed Mallet for an easy layup, but Bourousis was unstoppable, hitting another three-pointer to make it 9-20. Hill answered from the arc, too, but Bouroussis simply matched him. Dueling free throws by Spanoulis and Mallet, who drew a second foul on Bouroussis, left a 14-25 scoreboard after 10 minutes.
Gomis and Dwayne Broyles added 4 quick points for Spirou to open the second quarter, but soon Nesterovic and Teodosic restored the double-digit advantage, 18-29. Hill measured and made his second three-pointer then finished a fastbreak layup-plus-free throw to suddenly cut the difference in half, to 24-29. Olympiacos took a timeout, but right after it, Broyles collected an offensive rebound and fed Gomis for a big triple before Hill scored on another fastbreak for a sudden 29-29 tie. The Reds looked for their veterans then, and sure enough a pair of layups each by Papaloukas and Nesterovic, the last on a great pass from Yotam Halperin, put the the visitors comfortably ahead again, 30-37. After a Spirou timeout, the hosts found Riddick for a spinning hook shot that Spanoulis answered with a drive. Only free throws fell until Spanoulis took it upon himself to end the half with a fastbreak jumper off a great ball fake to boost the Olympiacos advantage to 34-42.
Bourousis returned with a rim-swinging slam to which Teodosic added a baseline jumper to open the second half by lengthening the Olympiacos lead to 34-46. When Gomis hit back with a triple, Teodosic simply went the other way and did the same. Then he threw a wrap-around assist behind Daniel Santiago's back for a Bourousis layup at 39-51. Spirou got a dunk from Santiago then, but Teodosic merely buried another triple. Santiago scored one-on-one against Bourousis, who was up to 3 fouls now, but Teodosic and Spanoulis at the foul line were able to extend the Olympiacos lead to 43-58. Hamilton got a second-change basket for Spirou, then Hill added a fastbreak layup, forcing an Olympiacos timeout, after which Papaloukas nailed an open three-pointer at 47-61. Spirou made the most of the final possession of the third quarter as Mallet found Brian Greene for a triple to make it 50-61 after 30 minutes.
Halperin opened the fourth quarter with a strike from downtwon and Spanoulis added a free throw. He was interrupted by Greene's free throws before he drove for a layup and pulled up for a jumper, to put the lead at its highest yet, 52-69, with 7 minutes left. Gomis woke the home crowd with a nice corner triple, but who else but Spanoulis was waiting at the opposite end of the court to drill one from his own corner. When Zoran Erceg stepped up with an easy jumper, the lead was 20 points, 54-74. More than just the Reds were happy by then, as the impending loss meant that Spirou would not catch those three other Group B teams: Lottomatica Roma, Real Madrid and Unicaja. They will join Olympiacos in the next round, while the Spirou fans had to be content with applauding their team on a great effort in its first Euroleague season since 2002.
Monday, December 13, 2010