Champs roll past Besiktas
In a game it never trailed, Olympiacos Piraeus got back to its winning habits by downing Besiktas JK Istanbul 77-64 in Peace and Friendship Stadium on Friday night. The defending Turkish Airlines Euroleague champions improve to 1-1 and into a share of fourth place with FC Barcelona Regal in Group F of Top 16, while Besiktas dropped to 0-2. Kostas Sloukas hit 2 key three-pointers to help Olympiacos pull away in the first half. His buzzer-beating triple at the end of the first quarter, and a four-point play midway through the second, were a major contribution in a 16-5 run that gave the hosts control of the game. Back-to-back triples from Vassilis Spanoulis and Georgios Printezis at the start of the third quarter made it a 16-point game as Olympiacos never looked back. Spanoulis finished with 18 points, while Printezis had 14 in only 19 minutes on the floor. Sloukas contributed with 9 points plus 5 rebounds in victory. Damir Markota led Besiktas with 14 points plus 10 rebounds, while Daniel Ewing netted 15 and Curtis Jerrells scored 13.
First quarter: Olympiacos pulls away with Sloukas’s last second heroics
Josh Powell started the scoring for Olympiacos with a tip-in, before Ewing answered on the other end with a layup to open account for Besiktas. After Spanoulis and Jerrells traded layups, Powell and Printezis scored inside for 9-4. Printezis followed it up with a dunk and a baseline jumper, while Jerrells made basket-plus-foul for the visitors. Stratos Perperoglou hit a long jump shot before Markota and Ewing cut it from the foul line to 15-13. However, in the final 5 seconds of the quarter, Kyle Hines scored in low post before Sloukas forced a turnover then used an inbounds pass to hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer making it 20-13 at the end of the first quarter.
Second quarter: Reds remain in control
Serhat Cetin opened the second quarter with a three-pointer for the visitors, but Pero Antic replied with a triple of his own. After Jerrells and Acie Law traded layups, Sloukas made a four-point play – sinking a triple while drawing a foul – to extend the lead to 29-20, and another layup by Law made it an 11-point affair. Muratcan Guler and Ewing made baskets inside before Fikret Can Akin hit a jumper for the visitors, however, Olympiacos made 4 of 6 free throws to keep the margin in double figures, and went into halftime holding a 37-27 advantage.
Third quarter: Triples from Markota give Besiktas hope
Spanoulis and Printezis hit back-to-back three-pointers to start the third quarter. Besiktas went inside to Cemal Nalga for his first bucket of the night, and that started a 2-9 run. Jerrells and Cetin added layups, and Markota hit from long range to cut the deficit to 45-38. Spanoulis answered with a triple of his own, but Markota made another three, this one from the right corner with a help of the glass, making it a 7-point game again. However, Printezis drove baseline for a dunk, then followed it up with a shot from behind the arc, before Kostas Papanikolaou drove for a layup and 55-41. Before the quarter’s end, Markota added a layup to his tally and Patrick Christopher converted 3 free throws to cut it to 57-46 after three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Spanoulis and Hines seal the deal
It took 3 minutes for the first field goal of the fourth quarter, and Guler’s basket-plus-foul made it 59-49. On the other end, Hines hustled for an offensive rebound and later finished the possession with a dunk. Ewing replied with a layup, but it was Hines again who scored from close range, this time from Spanoulis’s assist, extending the lead to 65-51. Randal Falker then scored twice inside for the visitors, but Spanoulis made all his free throws and also assisted Law on a fastbreak reverse layup making it 75-57 entering the final minute. Before the end of the game, Ewing hit a triple and a pair of free throws to round out the scoring and help Besiktas finish the game on a 2-7 run.
Friday, January 4, 2013