2007-08Top 16Round 1
February 13, 2008 CET: 19:15
Local time: 20:15 ABDI IPEKCI ARENA
Drew Nicholas - Efes Pilsen Efes Pilsen got the Top 16 off to exciting fashion in Group D by beating defending Euroleague Basketball champion Panathinaikos 74-64 on Wednesday night at the Abdi Ipecki Sports Hall in Istanbul, Turkey. Drew Nicholas scored 23 of his 29 points – equaling his career-best – in the first half as Efes took a 46-35 halftime lead and the hosts only added to that in the second half. Efes starts the Top 16 as the Group D co-leader with the winner of Thursday’s Montepaschi Siena vs Partizan Igokea game. Efes is at home again next week hosting Montepaschi, while Panathinaikos will try to bounce back from this loss at home against Partizan. Andre Hutson added 10 points for Efes, while Kerem Gonlum was instrumental with 9 points and 7 rebounds and reserve point guard Ender Arslan contributed 6 points and 5 assists. Mike Batiste and Sarunas Jasikevicius led Panathinaikos with 12 points apiece and Vassilis Spanoulis added 10. The Greens led 8-16 early, but Nicholas fired in three consecutive three-pointers to get Efes back. Still a layup by Andrija Zizic gave Panathinaikos a 17-21 lead after 10 minutes. Efes improved its defense, while Nicholas led a 16-4 run that Arslan capped with a layup for a 36-37 margin. Hutson allowed Efes to get a double-digit margin at halftime and Efes continued to excel in defense after the break, while Ermal Kuqo had 8 quick points to give the hosts a 65-48 margin early in the fourth quarter. Dimitis Diamantidis, Spanoulis and Batiste tried to get the Greens back in the game but all Efes fans were already celebrating a major home win.

Panathinaikos won the opening tip and scored the first basket though Zizic inside. The Greens proceeded to build a quick lead in the opening few minutes by getting 6 points from Sani Becirovic to go ahead 2-8. Nicholas pushed Efes to 8–10 midway through the period, but back-to-back Nikos Hatzivrettas three-pointers gave the Greek champs twice as many points as the hosts, 8-16. However Nicholas was just getting started. He fired in three straight triples in two minutes as Efes Pilsen took its first lead, 17-16, with two-and-a-half minutes remaining in the period. Demos Dikoudis made the sixth straight triple of the first quarter and then a Zizic layup determined the score at the end of the first quarter, 17-21 for Panathinaikos.

Sarunas Jasikevicius - PanathinaikosLoren Woods made the opening basket of the second quarter as Efes Pilsen started to rule the game. The home team’s match-up zone defense managed to stop Panathinaikos, while its rebounding led to fast-break opportunities. Gonlum’s tip-in extended the Efes lead to 3 points fort he first time. Panathinaikos struggled to score against the match-up zone and several turnovers helped the Istanbul side extend the lead. Nicholas remained on fire and rocketed in two more triples. Soon Woods and Arslan layups made the score 36-27 midway through the period. Batiste break the Panathinaikos silence, but Gonlum’s triple – his first ever in his 132nd Euroleague appearance – doubled the Efes lead to 39-29. With the support of the home fans cheering them on, Efes pushed the lead to 43-31 again thanks to Nicholas. Batiste kept the visitors standing in those last minutes, but Hutson’s jumper ended the first half at 46-35 for Efes.

Efes Pilsen enjoyed a great start to the third quarter as well. Scoonie Penn fed Kenny Gregory for a fine alley-oop and a little later Nicholas increased the lead to 15 points. Jasikevicius and Spanoulis tried to balance the game with their individual efforts, but the head coach David Blatt’s patented match-up zone kept the hosts’ lead in double figures for much of the period. Spanoulis brought Panathinaikos within 59-48, but a Kuqo layup followed by a buzzer-beating tip from Hutson ended the third quarter at 63-48 for Efes Pilsen.

Kerem Gonlum - Efes PilsenHutson threaded the needle with a brilliant pass to Kuqo, who despite a hard foul from Hatzvirettas, made 2 free throws to extend the lead even further. After Fragiskos Alvertis missed a triple, Arslan sliced through the Green defense to put the hosts up 19. Diamantidis wouldn’t let his team quit and through a three –pointer and then a drive that resulted in 2 free throws, gave his team some hope. Spanoulis matched Hutson’s baseline jumper with a drive for a basket, but again Hutson came though by drawing a foul and netting a free throw to push the lead to 70-56. After a few missed shots on both sides, it looked as if the players had accepted the outcome However a sudden spurt consisting of a Jasikevicius jumper and a Batiste slam in transition made it 70-60 with two minutes remaining. Hutson made sure to wrap things up with a smart blocked shot on a Jasikevicius attempt, which resulted in a Nicholas layup that allowed the hosts to enjoy a great start to the Top 16.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Gokhan Ture, Istanbul
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Referees: FACCHINI, FABIO (ITA), BELOSEVIC, ILIJA (SRB), HIERREZUELO, DANIEL (ESP)
Attendance: 5000
By Quarter1234
Efes Pilsen17291711
Panathinaikos21141316
End of Quarter1234
Efes Pilsen17466374
Panathinaikos21354864
Efes Pilsen
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 NICHOLAS, DREW 32:35 29 6/7 5/12 2/3   2 2 4 2 1     2 4 29
5 PENN, SCOONIE 24:43 3 0/1 1/4     2 2 1 2 1     4 1  
6 WOODS, LOREN 19:02 7 3/6   1/1 2 4 6     1 1   1 1 10
9 GREGORY, KENNY 28:38 2 1/2 0/2   1 2 3 1 1 1         3
10 ABI, MUSTAFA DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
11 PACUN, BORA HUN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
12 GONLUM, KEREM 20:58 9 2/2 1/1 2/2 2 5 7 1   2     3 4 16
13 WRIGHT, RASHAD 7:25           1 1           2 1  
23 KUQO, ERMAL 16:11 8 3/5 0/2 2/2 1 1 2   3 3     2 3 7
32 HERSEK, BARIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
33 ARSLAN, ENDER 27:45 6 3/4 0/4 0/1 2 4 6 6   3     3 2 8
34 HUTSON, ANDRE 22:43 10 4/8   2/4 1 4 5   1 2 1   1 2 10
Team                                
Totals 200:00 74 22/35 7/25 9/13 9 25 34 13 9 14 2 0 18 18 83
        62.9% 28% 69.2%
Head coach: BLATT, DAVID
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
Panathinaikos
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 ALVERTIS, FRAGISKOS 7:28 2 1/2 0/2     1 1   2       2 1 1
5 PERPEROGLOU, STRATOS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6 SPANOULIS, VASSILIS 29:44 10 2/4 1/5 3/4   5 5 3 1 3     2 8 15
7 BECIROVIC, SANI 21:57 6 2/4 0/3 2/2   3 3 2   2     1 2 5
8 BATISTE, MIKE 23:06 12 6/8     3 2 5   3 2   1 2 1 14
9 ZIZIC, ANDRIJA 20:11 4 2/2       3 3   1 2     4   2
10 HATZIVRETTAS, NIKOS 19:48 6 0/1 2/3     3 3 1   1     3   4
11 DIKOUDIS, DIMOS 17:43 7 2/2 1/1           1 1     3 1 5
13 DIAMANTIDIS, DIMITRIS 33:24 5 0/1 1/6 2/2   7 7 4 1 1     1 2 11
14 WINSTON, KENNEDY 2:22                   1         -1
17 PRKACIN, NIKOLA DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
19 JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS 24:17 12 4/9 0/1 4/4   1 1 1   1   1   3 9
Team                   1           1
Totals 200:00 64 19/33 5/21 11/12 3 25 28 11 10 14 0 2 18 18 66
        57.6% 23.8% 91.7%
Head coach: OBRADOVIC, ZELJKO

Head Coaches

BLATT, DAVID
Efes Pilsen
"First of all, all the credit goes to the players. They really came to the game with the right mentality, great team spirit and Efes Pilsen spirit. You know, there are some games that you win, you should win like we did tonight. We played against a great team tonight. Panathinaikos, in my opinion, has proved to be certainly the best team of Europe in the last couple of years. I think that we did the things what we wanted to do in the game and we did it as best as we could. Fortunately it worked tonight. We are not a better team than Panathinaikos. But tonight, what we played and what we tried to do, we did well. But it will only means something special if we able to beat Montepaschi Siena next week at home in Abdi Ipekci."
OBRADOVIC, ZELJKO
Panathinaikos
"Incredible to believe but it's true. We played the worst game of the Euroleague this season for sure. But also I have to say that Efes Pilsen played a very good game. They played with big concentration and they used the quality they have like a team. Individual and team quality. Because if one players like Drew Nicholas, that I don't know how many times he played against me before, but he scored 23 points just in the first half. This is incredible. I believe that my team played very bad offensively. We didn’t play like a team and weren't able to play our regular game. We made too many individual mistakes. And because of this, they punched us. This is just for the first half. In the second half, we challenged well, but it was too hard to come back. In the Top 16, every ball, every point is important. We start the Top 16 with a loss here and it makes a very difficult situation for us."

Players

KUQO, ERMAL
Efes Pilsen
"It was a game which we must win for sure. We are starting the Euroleague from the beginning. We didn't play a better team before this season. Panathinaikos was really a very hard opponent for us. But we are a good team as well. We want to keep our performance at the same level, or to improve it. I can honestly say that the loss in the semifinal of the Turkish Cup at the weekend against Oyak Renault was a part of our motivation to this game. It's really good to start to Top 16 with a big win. But we still have five matches to play and we have nothing in our hands yet."
HATZIVRETTAS, NIKOS
Panathinaikos
"We lost a game which we must win. Efes Pilsen played really good and did the things better than us. There's nothing much to say but to congratulate Efes Pilsen. We have to recover from this loss immediately. We didn't have any reason for our bad performance in the game from the first minute to the last. We had a very tough schedule for us. We have to forget about this loss immediately."
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