Olympiacos pulls out OT win in Kazan
In a game where neither team had a lead larger than 7 points, Olympiacos Piraeus pulled out a dramatic 84-87 overtime win over UNICS Kazan on Friday night. The Reds registered their third consecutive victory, and second on the road, to improve to 9-4, while UNICS had its four-game winning streak snapped, dropping to 7-6. Sasha Vezenkov scored half of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to lead Olympiacos. Kostas Sloukas finished with 12 points and 8 assists, while Giannoulis Larentzakis and Moustapha Fall scored 10 apiece in victory. Lorenzo Brown scored 21, and Isaiah Canaan netted 20 for the hosts. John Brown and Mario Hezonja added 11 apiece in a losing effort.
Thomas Walkup used a pair of Olympiacos steals for two fastbreak baskets to open the visitors' tally, but Hezonja answered each with a three-pointer, and a three-point play from Dmitrii Uzinskii helped open a 13-6 lead. Olympiacos quickly erased the deficit behind 8 point from Vezenkov to tie it at 15-15, but a triple from Canaan sent UNICS ahead 20-17 after 10 minutes. Hassan Martin opened the second quarter with a basket-plus-foul, before Livio Jean-Charles had a baseline jumper and a layup and Sloukas nailed a transition triple to make it 24-29 midway through the second quarter. The teams went to the foul line often, including John Brown's three-point play that cut it to 31-32. Olympiacos restored the margin with Larentzakis and Sloukas nailing back-to-back long-range shots, but Lorenzo Brown strung together 7 points including a three-point play that cut it to 40-42 at halftime.
Canaan opened the second half with back-to-back triples before Uzinskii and Tyler Dorsey traded three-pointers. Lorenzo Brown and Vezenkov traded close-range baskets, before Canaan's fourth triple made it 55-51. A pair of dunks from Fall kept Olympiacos within 57-55, but Marco Spissu nailed a corner triple before another dunk by Fall made it 62-59 after three quarters. Vezenkov opened the fourth quarter with a corner triple, and Sloukas added another one of his own, before stealing the ball from Spissu and scoring on a breakaway to make it 64-67. Hezonja strung together 5 points that tied it at 69-69 with under 6 minutes to go. But the hosts never led again. Vezenkov hit another three-pointer for Olympiacos and, after an almost 2-minute scoring drought on both ends, Lorenzo Brown took it to the rim, but Dorsey hit a second-chance triple to make it 72-75. After Canaan's transition three-pointer made it 75-75 with 1:07 left, Fall scored a last-second layup to put the Reds in front again. However, Tonye Jekiri had a put-back layup with 12.7 seconds to go that forced overtime, 77-77.
Fall had a layup and Vezenkov a pair of free throws to make it 77-81. Those were the only baskets in the first 3 and a half minutes of the extra session before Lorenzo Brown nailed a mid-range jumper. The scoring picked up as Larentzakis took it to the rim, and Lorenzo Brown had a put-back layup, before Vezenkov's corner triple with 30 seconds to go made it 81-86. Canaan quickly answered with a three-pointer, but Olympiacos ran 14 seconds from the clock before Sloukas was sent to the foul line. He split free throws to make it 84-87, and UNICS had 6.2 seconds for the final possession, but Hezonja's triple at the buzzer was short and Olympiacos celebrated a thrilling win.
Vezenkov's key performance
Sasha Vezenkov showed up when his team needed him the most. After scoring 11 points through the first three quarters, with 5 of those coming from the free throw line, Vezenkov scored 11 more in the fourth quarter and overtime. He opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer, netted another one midway through the fourth, then his third three-point shot with 30 seconds left in the overtime. He finished making 3-of-3 two-point shots, and 3-of-7 triples. Vezenkov also pulled down 7 rebounds and had 5 steals, along with 3 assists. A big performance from the Olympiacos forward for a big road win.
Olympiacos made timely triples
Olympiacos managed to win a game on the road in which it shot only 9-for-37 (24.3%) from long range. However, the triples Olympiacos did make came when the team needed them the most. Olympiacos shot just 4-for-26 beyond three-point line in the first three quarters, then Sasha Vezenkov and Kostas Sloukas hit the first two attempts in the fourth for Olympiacos to re-take the lead. Vezenkov hit his second one, then Tyler Dorsey nailed another with 2 minutes to go for 72-75. The last triple of the night for Olympiacos came again from Vezenkov, who hit a corner shot with 30 seconds to go, making it 81-86. The Reds were 4-for-7 from long range in the fourth quarter, then made 1-of-4 in overtime, improving it to 45.5% in that key span of the game.
No wins in overtime for UNICS
This was the second overtime game UNICS has played this season, again on its home floor. UNICS was once again on the losing end, as it was in Round 2 against AS Monaco when it lost 80-88. For UNICS, this is fourth season in the competition, and in the previous three EuroLeague campaigns UNICS had two more overtime losses. The first one came in the Top 16 in the 2011-12 campaign, on the road 94-87 at Fenerbahce, and there was another extra period loss in the 2016-17 season, when UNICS lost on home floor 92-99 against Anadolu Efes Istanbul.
Friday, December 3, 2021