Efes Pilsen registered the biggest road win in Euroleague history by thrashing Olympiacos 59-110 on the road in Athens, Greece, on Thursday night. Efes Pilsen now shares the top spot in Group A with Climamio Bologna, who lost in Sopot yesterday, and both teams are tied at 5-1. Meanwhile, Olympiacos dropped to 1-5 and will have a tough time to make it to the Top 16. All hope is not lost, however, as the Reds rallied for a 0-5 start to reach the Top 16 last season. Efes Pilsen got revenge from a 42-77 home loss against Olympiacos back in 1994. Will Solomon led the winners with 25 points on 8 of 8 free throws, Niksa Prkacin added 24 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double off the bench, Henry Domercant had 22 points on 6 of 8 threes, all of them in the first half, Erden Arslan 13 and Kaya Peker 11 for Efes, which went 37-for-58 shooting. Dusan Vukcevic had 13 points for Olympiacos, while Marque Perry added 10 for the hosts.
Olympiacos stayed in the game in the early going, as an early basket by Lavor Postell and a big three by Vukcevic gave the Reds its last lead in the game, 5-3. Solomon fired back with a big three, his second in this game, which Domercant followed with a bomb from downtown to power Efes to a 7-11 margin. Lazaros Agadakos and Vukcevic combined 5 points to keep Olympiacos into the game at 12-15, but Mustafa Abi stepped up with a layup and Prkacin added 4 quick points to help Efes keep a 16-21 lead after 8 minutes. Free throws by Solomon and a powerful dunk by Peker extended the guests' lead to 19-26 before Ivan Zoroski added a layup for a 21-26 Olympiacos deficit after 10 minutes.
Domercant decided he had enough and drilled back-to-back bombs from downtown to break the game at 21-32. Olympiacos now struggled to score, while once again Domercant made another three for a 23-25 Efes margin. Zoroski fired back from beyond the arc, but Olympiacos struggled to score for almost 4 minutes after that. Meanwhile, Efes excelled in both ends of the floor, using a 2-15 run in which Prkacin had 6 points and Solomon added 4 to make it a 19-point game at 28-49. Olympiacos faces severe foul trouble, while Domercant still had time to fire in 2 more shots from downtown and Arslan added another three to boost Efes to a 35-59 lead at halftime, as local fans could not believe their eyes.
Olympiacos needed a quick comeback to at least please its home crowd, but the hosts went scoreless for the opening 2 minutes of the third period. Meanwhile, Domercant drilled a mid-range jumper and Peker added free throws for a 35-63 score. A three-pointer by Jeff Nordgaard ignited a 9-0 run capped by Postell's free throws which brought the Reds within 48-71 after 28 minutes, but Solomon stepped up with a layup and Goran Nikolic scored around the basket to help Efes keep a mamooth 27-point lead, 49-76, entering the fourth
Efes wanted more, and tried to extend its margin until the final buzzer. The guests opened the final period with a 2-13 run in which Arslan and Solomon combined 9 points to extend their lead to 51-89 after 33 minutes. Not happy with that, Efes displayed a defensive exhibition in the final 5 minutes of the game, limiting the Reds to just 4 more points until the final buzzer. Meanwhile, Prkacin still had time to score 3 times around the basket and cap his great game with a dunk, while three-pointers by Arslan and Valentin Pastal boosted the guests' lead to a game-high 59-110 before the final buzzer.
Thursday, December 9, 2004
Kostas Sotiriou, Athens