Union Olimpija downing mighty Olympiacos 87-78
Union Olimpija bounced back from its initial loss in the 2007-08 Euroleague by downing mighty Olympiacos 87-78 in Ljubljana, Slovenia on Thursday night. Both teams are now tied at 1-1 in Group B. Ronnel Taylor and Marko Milic each had 16 points for Olimpija, that went against all odds, pushed by thousands of fans at Hala Tivoli in the Slovenian capital. Miha Zupan added 14, Goran Dragic had 12 and Jasmin Hukic 10 for Olimpija. Marc Jackson had 20 points for Olympiacos, Arvydas Macijauskas and Lynn Greer each added 15 while Giorgios Printezis got 13 for the Reds, that led 14-21 after 10 minutes. Olimpija found a go-to guy in Zupan, who allowed the hosts to get a 57-54 halftime edge. Olimpija used aggressive defense to dominate the game in the second half, as Hukic and an outstanding Taylor boosted the hosts' lead to double digits, 75-65. Dragic and Milic helped Olimpija to seal a well-deserved win in style.
Printezis and Qyntel Woods got Olympiacos going with consecutive baskets in the opening minute, as Olimpija struggled to score until Milic stepped up for the hosts. Milic soon fed Mirza Begic for a dunk, but a power basket by Printezis and a very active Macijauskas kept Olympiacos ahead, 6-8. Milic kept pacing Olimpija but he didn't find much help around. Meanwhile, Greer ignited a 0-6 run that Jackson capped with an easy basket, good for a 8-14 Olympiacos lead midway through the first quarter. Olimpija briefly regained its momentum, as Taylor hit free throws and Hasan Rizvic found his first basket. It didn't last long, however, as Jackson buried a three-pointer while Macijauskas beat the buzzer to give the Reds a 14-21 edge after 10 minutes.
Olimpija improved its aggressivity early in the second quarter, not allowing any easy shots now. Meanwhile, Milic scored and soon collected a steal that allowed Dragic to get Olimpija within 18-21. Taylor scored off a steal but Kostas Vasileadis and Greer stroke from downtown to keep Olympiacos ahead, 20-27. It didn't last long, however, as Olimpija used outstanding defense to regain its momentum. Taylor and Dragic took over with consecutive baskets but Giannis Bouroussis stepped up with a put-back layup for a five-point Olympiacos lead at 24-29. Zupan followed a layup with a fast break basket and by the time he scored again, Olimpija was ahead, 30-29. Jackson found answers for the Reds but Zupan answered from downtown and Taylor added free throws. Macijauskas took over with a corner triple but a put-back layup by Booker gave Olimpija a 37-34 halftime edge.
Roderick Blakney opener the second half with a triple and Printezis added a layup for a 39-39 tie. It didn't last long, as Zupan and Taylor fueled a 6-0 run that gave the hosts a 45-39 lead. Olimpija kept powering the offensive board but started to miss open shots. Meanwhile, free throws by Jackson and a triple by Blakney got the Reds within 47-45. Taylor stepped up with a layup-plus-foul, as Olympiacos kept committing turnovers right when it mattered. Greer and Macijauskas came off the bench, while Dragic picked up his fourth foul. Olympiacos called a much-needed timeout to adjust its offense and Greer immediately delivered with a basket and free throws, but Taylor and Mocnik answered from downtown for a 56-49 Olimpija edge. More free throws by Greer fixed the score at 56-53 after 30 minutes.
Zupan kept pacing Olimpija with a put-back basket that Jackson erased with free throws. Hukic answered the same way while Dragic fed Taylor for an easy basket, good for a 62-55 Olimpija lead with 8 minutes to go. Booker buried a fadeaway jumper but Jackson silenced the crowd with his second triple. A fast break layup by Dragic and an easy basket by Hukic were good for a 68-59 Olimpija lead midway through the final period. Macijausjas and Jackson hit more foul shots but Olimpija stayed focused. Hukic scored inside and Milic added another layup. Greer tried to change things with a put-back layup but free throws by Booker and Hukic gave Olimpija a double-digit lead, 75-65. Macijauskas made more foul shots but he did not find help down the stretch. Meanwhile, Dragic and Milic allowed all Olimpija fans to celebrate that their team is more than ready to fight for a Top 16 spot.
Thursday, November 1, 2007