Hunter leads injury-plagued Olympiacos to road win
Olympiacos Piraeus survived major absences to its lineup to beat Cedevita Zagreb 70-83 in Group B in the Croatian capital on Thursday. Olympiacos improved to 5-1 and will reach the Top 16 with its next win, while Cedevita dropped to 3-3. Othello Hunter led the winners with 19 points on 9-of-12 two-point shooting. Ioannis Papapetrou added 16 points, Vangelis Mantzaris had 12 and Dimitros Agravanis 11 for Olympiacos. Jacob Pullen led Cedevita with 13 points, James White added 12 and Luka Babic and Miro Bilan each had 10 for the hosts. Three-pointers by Marko Arapovic, Babic, White and Pullen helped Cedevita to a 24-21 lead after 10 minutes. A three-point play by Pullen soon gave his team a 35-30 lead, but Hunter and Papapetrou fueled an 1-9 run that helped Olympiacos get the lead, 40-41, at halftime. Ioannis Athinaiou struck twice from downtown in a 0-11 run that made it a double-digit game. Cedevita managed to get within 56-61, but another triple by Athinaiou gave the Reds a 56-64 margin through three quarters. Cedevita kept its chances alive at 64-69, but back-to-back three-pointers by Mantzaris allowed Olympiacos to seal the outcome down the stretch.
First quarter: Three-pointers put Cedevita ahead
Nikola Milutinov got Olympiacos going with a jump hook, which Miro Bilan bettered with a layup-plus-foul. Bilan buried a mid-range jumper, which Luka Babic followed with a floater to cap a 7-0 run. Agravanis struck from downtown, but so did Marko Arapovic to keep the hosts ahead, 10-5. Vangelis Mantzaris and James White joined the three-point shootout. A layup by Agravanis kept Olympiacos within 13-10. Cedevita had started to miss open shots and a tip-in by Matt Lojeski brought the Reds within 1. Arapovic sank a stop-and-pop triple and a fast break layup by Nemanja Gordic ignited the crowd at 18-12. Agravanis and Babic each hit one from beyond the arc and a layup-plus-foul by Hunter gave Olympiacos fresh air at 21-17. Hunter downed a jumper and Lojeski added another tip-in to tie the game. A three-pointer by Jacob Pullen put Cedevita back ahead, 24-21, after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Hunter, Papapetrou rescue Reds
Ioannis Papapetrou took over with a wild three-point play early in the quarter, but Henry Walker immediately answered with a bomb from downtown to make it 27-24. Dzanan Musa also hit one from beyond the arc and a huge dunk by Papapetrou kept Olympiacos within 30-26. Hunter scored in the low post and erased Walker's free throws with another basket that made it a 2-point game. Pullen shined with a three-point play, but Hunter banked in a close shot and a layup by D.J. Strawberry got Olympiacos within 35-34. Cedevita kept struggling to find good shot and trying to rush the game tempo. Mantzaris found Hunter for an alley-oop slam that caused the hosts to call timeout at 35-36. Bilan split free throws and a three-point play by Papapetrou put the Reds back ahead, 36-39. White split foul shots and Gordic downed a corner triple to put Cedevita back ahead, 40-39. Agravanis scored down low for a 40-41 Olympiacos lead at halftime.
Third quarter: Olympiacos takes off
Papapetrou and Babic exchanged three-pointers immediately after the break and a layup-plus-foul by Mantzaris gave his team a 43-47 edge. Athinaiou buried a corner triple and immediately sank another one from the same spot to make it a double-digit game, 43-53. Cedevita called timeout, but Olympiacos, led by Mantzaris and Milutinov, was all over the place on defense. Papapetrou scored in penetration to cap a 0-11 run. Bilan stepped up with a reverse layup and an off-balance jumper by Karlo Zganec gave Cedevita some hope at 47-55. Hunter provided a highlight with a put-back slam. Bilan made free throws, but a layup by Michalis Tsairelis restored a 49-59 Olympiacos lead. White split foul shots and added a step-back jumper to make it 52-59. After Tsairelis scored again, Gordic hit a one-handed floater and a finger roll layup by Babic made it a 5-point game. Another three-pointer by Athinaiou fixed the score at 56-64 through three quarter.
Fourth quarter: Matzaris seals it for the Reds
White kept pacing Cedevita with a backdoor layup early in the quarter, but Hunter took over with another put-back slam. Gordic scored in penetration and White split free throws, but a corner three-pointer by Papapetrou kept Olympiacos out of trouble at 61-69. Pullen tried to change things with a three-point play that Mantzaris immediately erased with a bomb from downtown, prompting a Cedevita timeout at 64-72 with less than minutes left. Mantzaris buried another one from beyond the arc and a reverse layup by Strawberry practically sealed the outcome at 64-77. Strawberry shined with a fast break layup and even though Cedevita called another timeout, everything was said and done.
Thursday, November 19, 2015