Short-handed Olympiacos downs ASVEL
Olympiacos Piraeus grabbed its fourth consecutive home win by downing LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne 77-68 at Peace and Friendship Stadium on Thursday. Olympiacos improved to 11-14 in the standings while ASVEL dropped to 9-16 with its seventh straight road loss. Sasha Vezenkov led the winners with 15 points, Octavius Ellis added 13 and Georgios Printezis and Wade Baldwin IV each scored 11 for Olympiacos. Charles Kahudi paced ASVEL with 14 points, Jordan Taylor added 12 and Livio Jean-Charles 11 for the visitors. Theo Maledon and Jean-Charles helped ASVEL get an early 8-14 lead. Nikola Milutinov and Vezenkov rescued Olympiacos, but Kahudi hit a triple that gave the visitors a 20-21 edge after 10 minutes. Ellis and Alexandros Nikolaidis stepped up for the hosts, joining forces with Printezis to make it a double-digit game, 43-33, at halftime. Little changed after the break, as Kostas Papanikolaou and Vezenkov kept Olympiacos in control, 61-50, after 30 minutes and kept a safe margin until the final buzzer.
Papanikolaou got Olympiacos going with an acrobatic driving layup and Vezenkov soon added a three-pointer for a 5-2 lead. Maledon answered from downtown and fed Kahudi for a layup in a 0-7 run that gave ASVEL its first lead, 5-9. Milutinov stepped up for the hosts, but ASVEL also found its big men, Jean-Charles and Tonye Jekiri, to boost its margin to 8-14. Milutinov took over with a put-back dunk and followed Vezenkov's coast-to-coast layup with a close basket for a 14-16 Olympiacos deficit. Maledon hit a floater, but Milutinov and Vezenkov helped Olympiacos regain the lead, 20-18. Kahudi struck from beyond the arc to fix the score at 20-21 after 10 minutes. Kahudi banked in a jumper early in the second quarter, but Ellis and Printezis provided another lead change, 26-25. Papanikolaou swished a triple and Nikolaidis scored off a steal, igniting the crowd at 31-26. Payne dunked but ASVEL kept sending opponents to the foul line, allowing Olympiacos to get a 36-29 lead. Taylor buried a running hook, but Ellis and Nikolaidis fueled a 7-0 run highlighted by Printezis's layup to get a double-digit margin, 43-33, at halftime.
Jekiri tried to change things with a jumper and a layup soon after the break, but Papanikolaou and Vezenkov each struck from downtown to boost Olympiacos's lead to 51-37. Jean-Charles stepped up with a put-back layup and a turnaround jumper. Ellis dunked in traffic to restore a 53-41 Olympiacos lead. Ismael Bako and Taylor each scored around the basket, but they didn't find much help around. Meanwhile, Printezis and Vezenkov buried one apiece from beyond the arc to break the game open, 61-45. Kahudi joined the three-point shootout and Taylor added a driving layup to give ASVEL hope, 61-50, after 30 minutes. Baldwin hit a jumper early in the fourth quarter and erased Antoine Diot's triple with a layup-plus-foul for a 66-53 Olympiacos lead with 7 minutes left. Taylor answered with his own three-point play and Maledon added a jumper, but Ellis singlehandedly kept Olympiacos way ahead, 72-61. ASVEL kept trying, but Olympiacos had cruised to a well-deserved win.
Sasha Vezenkov was Olympiacos's leader tonight, playing with great consistency and being there every time his team needed him. He finished the game with 15 points on 3-of-5 three-point shooting and 4-of-4 free throws plus 7 rebounds, a steal and 2 fouls drawn for a PIR of 18.
ASVEL managed to get within 36-31 on a big basket by Jordan Taylor, but Olympiacos made the most out of being in the foul bonus, attacking the rim for easy points. Georgios Printezis, Octavius Ellis and Nikolaidis combined for all the points in a 7-0 run that gave Olympiacos its first double-digit lead, 43-31, near halftime. Olympiacos never looked back after that.
Olympiacos drew 30 fouls, tying the most this season. Olympiacos had already drawn 30 fouls against Khimki Moscow Region on December 18, 2019, and two other teams - KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz and Zalgiris Kaunas - did so this season, too. That allowed Olympiacos to take 36 free throw attempts compared to ASVEL's 9, which, added to the visitors' poor three-point shooting (7-of-24, 29.2%) made the difference in the game.
Did you notice?
It was ASVEL's first road game against Olympiacos since 2004. It could not break its curse at Peace and Friendship Stadium, however. Since the teams' first matchup in the 1999 EuroLeague quarterfinal playoffs, ASVEL has played six road games against Olympiacos... and lost them all.
Both teams return to Euroleague action next week. Olympiacos visits Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv on Thursday, February 27. ASVEL visits Khimki Moscow Region the following evening.
Thursday, February 20, 2020