Olympiacos 87-84 win over Unicaja
Olympiacos stunned the team with the best regular season record on Wednesday night with an 87-84 win over Unicaja at Peace and Frienship Hall in Piraeus, Greece. The game came down to the wire and the visitors had chances to tie the game in the closing seconds, but Walter Herrmann and Jorge Garbajosa missed threes in the closing seconds. The win stretches Olympiacos's home -court winning streak to six games, and ends Unicaja's 11-game undefeated run. Quincy Lewis was the game hero for Olympiacos, scoring 5 of his 16 points in the final 40 seconds. Tyus Edney led the winners with 18 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. Sofoklis Schortsianitis added 17 points and 7 rebounds while Manolis Papamakarios had 14 points for Olympiacos. Marcus Brown led Unicaja with 24 points on 5 of 5 three-pointers. Herrmann added 13 points, Daniel Santiago had 12, Carlos Cabezas 11 and Garbajosa 10 for the guests. Lewis nailed a critical jumper already in the final minute and then hit a three with 13.8 seconds to go to put the Reds in charge for good. Herrmann and Garbajosa missed three-pointers in the final second which would have sent the game into overtime.
Unicaja started the game strong as Walter Herrmann threw down an outstanding dunk, but Edney scored immediately after that and Lewis slashed for a layup that put the Reds up 6-2. Santiago scored in the paint for Unicaja and Herrmann drove baseline to dunk it again, but Nikos Barlos and Lewis answered from downtown to keep Olympiacos in charge, 12-8. Andrija Zizic extended the lead with a close basket, but Herrmann hit a three from the right wing to bring Unicaja as close as 15-13. Then Edney stepped up with a fast break layup and Barlos copied him soon after for a 19-13 Olympiacos margin. Zizic made free throws for the Reds, but Cabezas answered with a triple from the right side to bring Unicaja within 21-18. Brown nailed a corner three to tie the game at 21-21, but Panayiotis Vasilopoulos answered from downtown to give Olympiacos a 24-21 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Sandro Nicevic made free throws and Brown buried his second three to give Unicaja a 25-26 edge early in the second quarter. Vasilopoulos answered from downtown but Garbajosa joined the three-point festival to restore a narrow Unicaja lead, 28-29. Sofoklis Schortsianitis made free throws, but Santiago erased it with a powerful layup and added free throws for a 30-33 Unicaja lead. Papamakarios tied the game with a big triple and Schorsianitis made a free throw for a 34-33 Olympiacos edge. Santiago took over with a two-handed dunk, which Pepe Sanchez followed with a tough turnaround jumper to make Unicaja regain the lead, 36-37, after 16 minutes. Garbajosa fired in a three and Santiago added a second-chance layup to make it a six-point game (36-42). Schortsianitis stepped up with 4 quick points on free throws and a layup, while Edney followed Flo Pietrus's dunk with a driving layup to bring the Reds within 42-44. Sanchez made foul shots for a 42-46 Unicaja edge at halftime.
Lewis got Olympiacos started after the break with a trademark jumper, which Zizic followed with a close-range basket to tie the game again, 46-46. Zizic and Cabezas exchanged baskets, but Unicaja was struggling to score. Edney had a big block on Cabezas, which allowed Papamakarios to nail another three and force a Unicaja timeout at 53-48. Schortsianitis capped a 12-2 run to start the half with a free throw, but Brown came to the rescue with a three that brought Unicaja within 54-51. Schortsianitis shined again with a basket-plus-foul, which Herrmann matched with a three from the corner. Edney stepped up with a long jumper and Reinaldas Seibutis hit three free throws to make it an 8-point game, 62-54. Nicevic scored twice around the basket, while Herrmann made free throws to bring Unicaja back. Brown brought the guests even closer (64-62), but Schortsianitis dunked it and Papamakarios buried another three for a 69-62 Olympiacos margin after 30 minutes.
Brown tried to ignite a Unicaja comeback with a driving layup early in the fourth quarter. Olympiacos tried to slow down to the tempo while Edney slashed to score a layup which gave the Reds a 73-66 lead. Brown answered with a three-pointer, but Papamakarios fired up the crowd with a short jumper and a free throw. Cabezas shined with a driving layup and Brown followed with free throws to bring Unicaja within three (76-73). Herrmann and Schortsianitis exchanged free throws, but Brown decided he had enough. He nailed another bomb from downtown and added an outstanding three-point play for a 77-80 Unicaja lead with under three minutes to go. Edney stepped up with a big basket and Schortsianitis scored in the paint to put the Reds back on top, 81-80. Cabezas took over with a fast break layup already in the final minute, but Lewis penetrated and scored for a 83-82 Olympiacos lead with 35 seconds to go. Brown missed a driving layup and Lewis made a critical three with 13.8 seconds remaining, 86-82. Garbajosa made free throws and Edney made just 1 of 2 with 11.1 seconds to go, but Garbajosa and Herrmann missed three-point attempts in the final 9 seconds to make all Olympiacos fans to start celebrating a thrilling, key win in the Reds' Top 16 opener.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Danos Tsalakos, Greece