2008-09Top 16Round 6
March 12, 2009 CET: 20:15
Local time: 20:15 FERNANDO BUESA ARENA

Olympiacos defeated Tau Ceramica 80-88

Olympiacos saved its biggest performance of the Euroleague season so far the Top 16 finale, invading Vitoria, Spain to deal an 80-88 home loss to Tau Ceramica, thereby stealing first place in Group E and homecourt advantage in the Quarterfinal Playoffs. Olympiacos finished with a 5-1 record and will have three home games, if necessary, against Real Madrid in the best-of-five playoff series. Tau fell to 4-2 in Group E and now, without homecourt advantage, will face Group F winner Regal FC Barcelona in the next round. Olympiacos took a lead in the game's fifth minute and refused to let go of it when Tau rallied to within a point with 4 minutes to play. Theodoros Papaloukas and Giannis Bourousis combined for a quick 7 points then and Panagiotis Vasilopoulos buried a killer triple entering the final minute to ice the victory for Olympiacos. Nikola Vujcic led the winners with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Yotam Halperin added 16 points on 4-for-5 three-point shooting, while Bourousis and Jannero Pargo scored 11 each. Mirza Teletovic led Tau with 16 points, while Tiago Splitter had 15, Sergi Vidal 14, Pete Mickeal 13 and Pablo Prigioni 12.

Tau showed its will in the early going playing fast-tempo basketball, taking advantage of Tiago Splitter's activity in the paint. Despite Pargo opening fire for the visitors with a short fastbreak jumper, the Spaniards amassed a 7-2 lead behind 5 points in a row from the Brazilian center after 2 minutes. The Reds didn’t panic, however, as Nikola Vujcic and Nikos Boroussis took over for a 7-7 tie midway through the quarter. Tau's shooters didn’t find their momentum, missing even open shots, and Olympiacos took advantage to take its first lead, 7-10, after a three-pointer by Yotam Halperim. Vujcic kept rocking inside for Olympiacos, scoring 6 points in a row that extended the visitors' edge to 10-16 after 7 minutes. Tau tried to answer through Pablo Prigioni, who hit back-to-back triples to prevent the Reds from escaping, but Halperin showed up quickly to reply with a couple of bombs of his own, making it 18-26. Only free throws by Mirza Teletovic and a monster dunk by Splitter allowed Tau to get as close as 23-28 at the end of the quarter.

Back-to-back steals by Josh Childress and Theodoros Papaloukes ended up with Olympiacos scoring easy layups to raise its advantage to double digits, 23-32, soon after second quarter tipped off. Tau groped for answers as 2 free throws by Childress and a three-pointer by Greer pushed the Olympiacos lead to 12 points, 25-37, after 13 minutes. Tau coach Dusko Ivanovic called for an urgent timeout, but his team couldn’t find the balance on offense, spending more possessions without points. Olympiacos kept adding to its lead as Vasilopoulos and Vujcic scored to make it a 16-point game, 25-41, midway through the second period. Vlado Ilievski and Teletovic kept the hosts in the game as Olympiacos went through a short offensive crisis. Splitter hit a hook shot at 31-43 with 3 minutes left until halftime, but Halperin needed only one shot to restore the Reds at 31-46. Nerves took over at the home side, as Prigioni had to be benched after committing his second and third fouls in less than a minute before Pargo drilled another triple from the corner as Olympiacos skated into the break with a crowd-silencing 37-51 advantage.

Mickeal kept leading Tau after the break, but his efforts had little return as Olympiacos found Vujcic and Papaloukas to run the show. A great assist by Papaloukas turned into a basket-plus-free throw for Childress that increased visitors’ margin to 41-58 after 24 minutes. The situation seemed to be critical for Tau, but Vidal emerged to hit back-to-back triples, followed by a short jumper in less than a minute to awake the home fans and reduce the gap to only 9 points, 49-58, forcing a timeout by Olympiacos. Another three-pointer, by Teletovic, made it a six-point game right after that, but Bourousis and Halperin quickly came to the rescue to restore the Reds' double-digit advantage at 52-63 after 27 minutes. Although the hosts looked ready to make a move, Olympiacos kept everything under control thanks to Vujcic, who was unstoppable in both the low and the high posts. Teletovic hit a high-bouncing triple to bring Tau within 60-67 entering the last minute, but Panagiotis Vasilopoulos replied with another bomb right after that. Will Mcdonald, with a buzzer-beater dunk, kept Tau within single digits at 62-70 after 30 minutes.

Zoran Erceg restored the double-digit lead for Olympiacos with a three-pointer to open the final quarter, but the hosts didn’t surrender and found Teletovic and Spltter for easy layups. An unsportmanslike foul by Papaloukas allowed Mickeal's foul shot to make it a six-point game, 67-73, after 33 minutes. Halperin hit a jumper to kept a safe margin for Olympiacos, but not for long. Prigioni scored a nice layup, Teletovic beat the shot-clock from downtown and Vidal made an acrobatic reverse to the gap to the minimum, 74-75, the closes that Tau had been to Olympiacos since the first quarter. With 4 minutes to go, and his team struggling to hold its lead, Papaloukas stepped forward. First, he drew an offensive foul on Mickeal; then he fed Bourousis for a huge hook shot; then he pulled a defensive rebound in a crowd and went the other way to bury a triple, making it 74-80 and effectively ending Tau's threat. Papaloukas fed Bourousis again before Vasilopoulos made no doubt about it by burying an open triple from the wing at 77-85 at the start of the final minute. A free throw carousel after that served for nothing but to confirm a monster road win, first place and homecourt advantage in the playoffs for Olympiacos.

Thursday, March 12, 2009
Natxo Mendaza, Vitoria
No results found.
Attendance: 9700
By Quarter1234
Tau Ceramica23142518
Olympiacos Piraeus28231918
End of Quarter1234
Tau Ceramica23376280
Olympiacos Piraeus28517088
Tau Ceramica
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 PRIGIONI, PABLO 22:26 12 1/4 3/3 1/2       4         5 2 9
6 ILIEVSKI, VLADO 17:34 2   0/2 2/2       5 1 2       1 5
8 RAKOCEVIC, IGOR 18:49 6 2/6 0/4 2/2 1 1 2 1   2   1   4 2
9 VIDAL, SERGI 27:53 14 3/7 2/2 2/2 1 3 4     2   1 1 2 12
11 ESLAVA, ARIEL DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
12 TELETOVIC, MIRZA 30:36 16 2/3 3/6 3/4   3 3     1     4 3 12
19 SAN EMETERIO, FERNANDO 3:50                   3         -3
21 SPLITTER, TIAGO 31:32 15 6/8   3/5 2 4 6 2   1     3 4 19
33 MICKEAL, PETE 32:24 13 3/5   7/8 2 3 5 1 4 2   1 2 7 22
42 BARAC, STANKO 4:19           1 1   1       1 1 2
45 MCDONALD, WILL 10:37 2 1/4     1 2 3     1     3   -2
Team           2 3 5               5
Totals 200:00 80 18/37 8/17 20/25 9 20 29 13 6 14 0 3 19 24 83
        48.6% 47.1% 80%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Olympiacos Piraeus
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 PAPALOUKAS, THEODOROS 28:03 7 2/3 1/2     5 5 4 5 2     3 1 15
5 PELEKANOS, MICHALIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6 CHILDRESS, JOSH 17:11 7 2/4   3/3 2   2 1 2 1 1     3 13
7 VUJCIC, NIKOLA 27:26 17 6/13 0/3 5/7 2 5 7 2   2     2 6 16
9 BOUROUSIS, IOANNIS 16:57 11 5/5 0/1 1/1 1 2 3 2 1 1     4 2 13
10 HALPERIN, YOTAM 34:00 16 2/4 4/5     4 4 2         4   15
11 GREER, LYNN 21:55 3 0/2 1/3         1   4     3 2 -5
13 VASILOPOULOS, PANAGIOTIS 20:10 9 0/2 2/3 3/4   2 2     1 2   1 2 9
14 VOUGIOUKAS, IAN 4:13 4 1/1   2/2 1   1   1       1 1 6
17 ERCEG, ZORAN 14:37 3 0/1 1/1     1 1 1         4 1 1
18 TEODOSIC, MILOS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
24 PARGO, JANNERO 15:28 11 3/4 1/3 2/2       1         2 1 8
Team           3 2 5               5
Totals 200:00 88 21/39 10/21 16/19 9 21 30 14 9 11 3 0 24 19 96
        53.8% 47.6% 84.2%

Head Coaches

Tau Ceramica
"We couldn’t find the right way to play a deciding game like this. We lacked patience and aggressiveness, we played in a way that hurt us in the first half. We improved in the second, but it was too late. This is a demonstration of what I’ve been saying all season long: You don’t win do-or-die games with offense, but with defense. We must learn that if we want to have a chance to win something, we must change our mentality and play aggressive defensive. We took the first option in our offense too many times, we had no patience, so it takes no big effort for the other team’s defense to stop us. They played fine, they played long when they needed to play long and they had patience. The fact that we lost today doesn’t mean that we lost the quarterfinals. We still have chances to go to Berlin."
Olympiacos Piraeus
"I think we played a great game in a great atmosphere. Tau is a very difficult team to beat. They have played excellent so far. But we prepared the game very well and were ready for the challenge. We went through a short crisis in the second half, but we managed to keep calm. I have to congratulate my players because we showed that we are able to play great basketball on a tough court like this. They try always to play fast in transition, but we found the way to minimize their fast tempo basketball. We reached today the level that we want to be at this moment of the competition. I hope to find Tau in the Final Four in Berlin."


Tau Ceramica
"We must learn from this defeat. We have to play the playoffs with much more aggressiveness and especially with better defense. It’s hard to say something after a game like this. I think we are a big team and able to overcome the home-court advantage in the quarterfinals."
Olympiacos Piraeus
"We feel great after a win like this. We managed to accomplish the plan we had before the game and that made us the leaders of the group. We knew that we needed to stop their fast break and I think we did a good job at that. We showed great personality as a team and deserved the win. We didn’t panic when they came back and came within 1 point in the last quarter. I think the lessons we learned in the previous game have been very useful to be able to win here tonight and clinch the first place of our group."
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