Olympiacos shuts down Baskonia for emphatic opening win
Olympiacos Piraeus opened its season with an emphatic 75-50 home victory over Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz. Olympiacos gave up just 22 points in the first half and never was challenged the rest of the way. Sasha Vezenkov was Olympiacos’s leading scorer with 16 points with Moustapha Fall adding 11 points and Kostas Sloukas 10 to go with 5 assists. Rokas Giedraitis paced Baskonia with 15 points and 6 rebounds while Matt Costello had 11 points and 9 rebounds in the loss.
Vezenkov scored Olympiacos’ first points of the season with a jumper and Steven Enoch did the honors for Baskonia on a big dunk at the other end. The EuroLeague debutant Enoch made it 7 points for himself and a 5-7 lead for the guests. But things fell apart after that for Baskonia, which committed 8 turnovers as Vezenkov scored 6 points in a 15-0 run over nearly 6 minutes to build a 20-7 Olympiacos cushion. Costello stopped the run and had 2 baskets but Vezenkov drained a triple at the quarter buzzer and the hosts were up 28-13. A Costello three-pointer helped cut the gap to 28-18, but Baskonia’s offensive woes resurfaced with 5 more turnovers. Georgios Printezis came off the Olympiacos bench for back-to-back baskets to highlight a 19-0 surge and a 47-18 advantage. Costello once again ended the drought after more than 8 minutes and Baskonia trailed 47-22 at the break.
Kostas Papanikolaou opened the second half with a three-pointer to push the margin to 50-22. Giedraitis converted 2 three-point plays and Simone Fontecchio hit a triple as Baskonia was finally able to start scoring with some regularity and get some stops to pull within 55-37. A Giedraitis three-pointer trimmed the deficit to 59-42 but it was still a big margin at 63-42 after 30 minutes. Shaquielle McKissic’s triple started the fourth quarter for Olympiacos, but Baskonia could not get going as it failed to score until Giedraitis’ free throws after 3 minutes of action. Baskonia just could not build upon its solid third quarter and the score was 73-46 with 2 minutes to play.
Back to the winning ways at home
Olympiacos once again picked up a home victory over Baskonia. The Spanish team had beaten the Greeks last November to snap Olympiacos’s 15-game home winning streak over Baskonia dating back to the playoffs in April 2007.
300 club … and seventh place for Sloukas
Kostas Sloukas made some history for the hosts as the playmaker dished out five assists to take sole possession of seventh place on the EuroLeague’s all-time assists leaderboard with 1,131 after coming into the game even with Milos Teodosic. Sloukas late in the first half also drained a three-pointer to join the 300 club for triples in EuroLeague history.
Olympiacos committed just 6 turnovers and forced 20 Baskonia turnovers for a 23-4 difference in points off turnovers to go with a 13-4 advantage in fastbreak points. Olympiacos also held the Spanish side to just 4-of-24 shootng from long range (16.7%). Baskonia’s 50 points was its second-fewest in a EuroLeague game; the club low is 45 from November 23, 2012 against Zalgiris Kaunas.
Olympiacos will remain at home for its next game as it welcomes Real Madrid to Greece on October 8. Baskonia will have its home opener in the EuroLeague as it plays host to AX Armani Exchange Milan on October 8.
Friday, October 1, 2021