Baskonia blasts Reds for 5th straight win
TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz continued its push to climb into the playoff zone by routing Olympiacos Piraeus 91-66 on Wednesday night at Buesa Arena. The win was Baskonia's fifth in a row and took its record to 14-13. Olympiacos led by as many as 10 in the second quarter, but Baskonia used runs of 13-2 and 12-0 to storm to a 43-32 halftime lead and never looked back. Luca Vildoza starred with 19 points, 8 assists and 4 steals to lead the winners. Rokas Giedraitis added 18 points, Achille Polonara contributed 11 and Tonye Jekiri 10. Livio Jean-Charles paced Olympiacos with 15 points, Octavius Ellis posted 12 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks, Shaquielle McKissic scored 10 and Kostas Sloukas contributed 8 points and 7 assists. The loss was the seventh in a row for the Reds, whose record fell to 11-16.
Kosta Koufos looked comfortable from the beginning with 5 points off pick-and-rolls with Sloukas to send Olympiacos to a 4-7 lead. However, the center was called for 2 fouls in a little more than 3 minutes of play and took a seat on the bench. His replacement, Ellis, quickly drew an offensive foul from Youssoupha Fall and he too was on the bench with 2 personals. Jean-Charles's three extended the Reds' lead to 7-14 after 5 minutes. Jekiri helped Baskonia briefly trim the gap, but a second three by Jean-Charles and an Ellis put-back gave the visitors an 8-point cushion. Giedraitis scored on the fastbreak to make it 15-21 after 10 minutes. Ellis's basket in traffic gave Baskonia a double-digit lead, 15-25, early in the second quarter. Polonara teamed up with Fall on a 13-2 Baskonia run that saw the hosts take a slim lead. A third foul forced Fall back to the bench before Aaron Harrison tied it at 28-28 midway through the second quarter. Jekiri scored twice inside and Giedraitis twice from downtown and added a dunk in a 12-0 run that made it 43-30. Sloukas made it 43-32 at the break.
McKissic scored twice in the first 2 minutes of the second half to bring the Reds within 45-39. Threes by Alec Peters, Vildoza, Polonara and Vildoza again restored a double-digit Baskonia lead, 57-43. Olympiacos pushed back to twice get within 9 and the third quarter ended at 68-58. Vildoza scored the first 5 points of the fourth quarter before Zoran Dragic added 2 layups in a 9-0 start to the fourth quarter. Olympiacos was held scoreless for nearly 5 minutes before Sasha Vezenkov scored in transition. A three-pointer by Tadas Sedekerskis extended the margin into the 20s. The lead peaked at 91-60 on Vildoza free throws in the game's penultimate minute as Baskonia cruised to victory.
First, second-half stars
Baskonia had two different go-to- guys in the game. Rokas Giedraitis took charge in the first half. He scored 11 in the second quarter and reached halftime with 16 points. The second half belonged to Luca Vildoza, who netted all of his 19 points after the break.
Olympiacos was slowly putting its stamp on the game when Octavius Ellis made it 15-25 early in the second quarter. Achille Polonara scored the next 5 points and Youssoupha Fall became a menace in the paint to lead a 13-2 run that gave Baskonia the lead and changed the momentum for good.
The three stats that tell the story of the game are Baskonia's 70% shooting on two-pointers (21 for 30), Olympiacos's 14.8% shooting on threes (4 of 27) and the hosts 35-12 advantage in points off turnover, which stands out even more when considering that Olympiacos committed just 1 more turnover (17) than Baskonia (16).
Both teams bounce back into action in 48 hours, on March 5. Olympiacos returns home to host Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade. Baskonia heads on the road to visit FC Barcelona.
Wednesday, March 3, 2021