2007-08Top 16Round 2
February 20, 2008 CET: 19:45
Local time: 20:45 O.A.K.A.
Vassilis Spanoulis - Panathinaikos Panathinaikos registered its first win in Group D by edging Partizan Igokea 67-65 at the Athens Indoor Olympic Hall on Wednesday night. Panathinaikos is now tied with Efes Pilsen for second place in Group B, both with a 1-1 record. Partizan is one win behind them at 0-2. Vassilis Spanoulis paced the winners with 20 points, while Mike Batiste barely missed a double-double with 9 points and 12 rebounds. He hit free throws and had a key block on Milenko Tepic to win it for the Greens in the final 19.5 seconds. Dusan Kecman had 13 points to lead Partizan, Milt Palacio 11 and Cedomir Vitkovac 10. Kecman shined early while a three-pointer by Petar Bozic and a final basket by Uros Tripkovic gave Partizan a 21-23 edge after 10 minutes. Free throws by Nikola Pekovic gave the guests a 25-34 edge midway through the second quarter but Spanoulis brought Panathinaikos within 34-40 at halftime. Vitkovac and an outstanding Kecman gave Partizan its biggest margin, 41-56, late in the third quarter, as everyone at OAKA had already started to wonder. Spanoulis and Sani Becirovic fueled the Greens' comeback while a corner triple by Nikos Hatzivrettas gave Panathinaikos a 65-63 edge with two minutes to go. Vitkovac and Novica Velickovic tied the game with foul shots. Batiste gave the Greens the lead with 17.5 seconds to go and had a big block on Tepic. Partizan got the ball back with 1.9 seconds remaining but could not get a shot down the stretch.

The game got underway with Partizan bursting ahead 4-9, thanks to their ability to dominate the offensive boards and score in transition. After a much-needed timeout, Batiste tried to produce in the paint, but his layup attempt was emphatically rejected by Slavko Vranes and Palacio finished the fast-break to silence the crowd. However, Panathinaikos is not regarded a great team that prides itself on defense without reason. The Greens flashed some of their trademark defense, asphyxiating Partizan and leaving them scoreless for almost four minutes. Spanoulis spearheaded the counter-attack and the hosts used a 12-0 run to bounce back and build a 16-12 advantage. The crowd went crazy, yet the guests did not lose their composure and, with Tepic on fire, embarked on a three-point exhibition that allowed them to surge to a 21-23 lead after 10 minutes of play.

Dusan Kecman - Partizan IgokeaEntering the second quarter, Sarunas Jacikevicius stepped up and knocked down back-to-back jumpers. Still, Palacio responded with some off-balanced shots to keep the Euroleague Champions at bay and Vitkovac fired in a triple to make it 25-32. With both teams fighting now tooth and nail, Spanoulis unleashed a bomb from downtown, then finished coast-to-coast and finally hit a free throw that pulled Panathinaikos within 32-36 and more importantly sent the noise level off the meter. After a Partizan timeout, Vranes bricked 2 free throws and Spanoulis muscled his way to the basket to cut the deficit to 34-36. Once again though, the guests were too passionate to let their more experienced opponents swing the momentum back to their way and managed with Palacio as their go-to guy to hold a 34-40 lead at the break.

Partizan came out in the second half determined to stay in charge and so it did. Tepic stole an inbounds pass to finish the break and the free-throw that came with it and moments later Vitkovac picked up the scoring slack to boost the margin to an impressive 34-47. Kennedy Winston contributed 4 points to give the Greens some hope, but Partizan anchored its subsequent offensive plays in the paint and its frontcourt tandem of Pekovic and Velickovic did not falter. Then, instead of folding, Kecman pulled a triple up his sleeve to frustrate the crowd and stretch the lead to 41-54. The roaring crowd tried to ignite the Greens and Spanoulis rewarded them as he first slashed to the basket and then dished to Batiste for a two-handed dunk that sliced the margin to 49-56 with one period remaining.

Kennedy Winston - PanathinaikosPowerhouse Pekovic was the first to score in the final period, yet the Greens were not willing to go down without a valiant fight. With Spanoulis being the permanent reference to score, Panathinaikos pulled within 53-58, however Kecman blasted one more triple to push Partizan’s margin to 8. Sani Becirovic answered back with a three-point play and, as the hosts stifled their defense, Panathinaikos managed to close the gap to 60-63. It was Euroleague Basketball at its finest now with both teams fighting to the last ditch. Palacio misfired a wide-open triple with 2:36 left, allowing Spanoulis to make it a 1-point game. Partizan was clearly in trouble offensively and it wasn’t long before Nikos Hatzivrettas threw in a critical triple for a 65-63 lead. With 1:08 before the final buzzer, Velickovic tied the game at 65-65 from the charity line, but then Tepic failed to restore the lead for the guests. Batiste converted 2 free throws and with the clock ticking down he swatted away Tepic’s attempt to send the game to overtime. Partizan had a final 2 seconds to win the game, however Dimitris Diamantidis locked Tepic down, who failed to shoot the ball and as a result Panathinaikos escaped once again victorious against Partizan.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Epameinondas Tsakalos, Athens
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Referees: ARTEAGA, JUAN CARLOS (ESP), HERCEG, SINISA (CRO), PATERNICO, CARMELO (ITA)
Attendance: 10500
By Quarter1234
Panathinaikos21131518
Partizan Igokea2317169
End of Quarter1234
Panathinaikos21344967
Partizan Igokea23405665
Panathinaikos
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 ALVERTIS, FRAGISKOS 4:47     0/2                     1 -1
5 PERPEROGLOU, STRATOS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6 SPANOULIS, VASSILIS 29:22 20 5/6 2/5 4/6   3 3 3 3 6     4 8 21
7 BECIROVIC, SANI 20:27 8 1/3 0/1 6/6             1 1 2 3 6
8 BATISTE, MIKE 32:23 9 2/5   5/6 1 11 12 2 2 3 1 1 4 6 20
9 ZIZIC, ANDRIJA 8:17           1 1           5   -4
10 HATZIVRETTAS, NIKOS 6:18 3   1/1                       3
11 DIKOUDIS, DIMOS 12:15 3 1/1 0/1 1/3   2 2 1 2       2 3 6
13 DIAMANTIDIS, DIMITRIS 33:07 9 2/2 1/3 2/4 1 3 4   1 4 1     3 10
14 WINSTON, KENNEDY 30:08 9 3/6 0/2 3/4   3 3 1 5 2 1   1 3 13
17 PRKACIN, NIKOLA 3:10 2 1/2     1   1               2
19 JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS 19:46 4 2/5     1   1 1 1 4     3 1 -2
Team             1 1   2           3
Totals 200:00 67 17/30 4/15 21/29 4 24 28 8 16 19 4 2 21 28 77
        56.7% 26.7% 72.4%
Head coach: OBRADOVIC, ZELJKO
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
Partizan Igokea
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 PALACIO, MILT 28:44 11 4/7 0/3 3/4 1 2 3 1 4 5   1 4 7 9
5 TEPIC, MILENKO 30:59 9 1/7 2/6 1/1 1 2 3 2 1 4   2 1 2  
7 KECMAN, DUSAN 22:40 13 2/3 3/4   1 2 3 1 1 1   1 3 1 12
10 BOROVNJAK, DEJAN 4:45         1 2 3 1         1   3
11 TRIPKOVIC, UROS 12:20 7 1/3 1/4 2/2       2   1     5 1 -1
12 VELICKOVIC, NOVICA 19:50 5 2/6   1/2 1 3 4   1 5     4 2 -2
14 PEKOVIC, NIKOLA 24:02 7 2/7   3/4 3 3 6 3 1       5 5 11
15 VITKOVAC, CEDOMIR 29:08 10 3/4 1/2 1/3 2 5 7 2 2 1     2 2 16
17 DJURKOVIC, MARKO DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
20 BOZIC, PETAR 9:32 3   1/1         1   1     1   2
21 MILOSEVIC, STRAHINJA 2:02   0/1                         -1
33 VRANES, SLAVKO 15:58   0/1   0/2 2   2   1 2 2   2 1 -1
Team           1 1 2   3           5
Totals 200:00 65 15/39 8/20 11/18 13 20 33 13 14 20 2 4 28 21 53
        38.5% 40% 61.1%
Head coach: VUJOSEVIC, DUSKO

Head Coaches

OBRADOVIC, ZELJKO
Panathinaikos
"If it weren’t for the fans, we wouldn’t have managed to prevail tonight. The match was a tough one, partly because last Sunday we played against our archrival Olympiacos. What worries me though is the fact that we made the same mistakes we did against Efes Pilsen last week. It was a crucial match and we had to be very focused throughout the 40 minutes. But that wasn’t what we did. Our group is open, especially after Siena’s win. Each team can qualify. Even Partizan."
VUJOSEVIC, DUSKO
Partizan Igokea
"Congratulations to Panathinaikos. Also I want to congratulate my players for their performance tonight. In the decisive moments we failed to score mostly because at these moments some key players were fouled out. I think that the fans had the chance to enjoy a great game and to appreciate our young Serbian players. In addition, my players, on the other hand, had the opportunity to play against the champions of Europe and gain some valuable experience. Regarding our chances to qualify to the next stage, I think that yes we can qualify. For there are four games left to play."

Players

BATISTE, MIKE
Panathinaikos
"Partizan is a young team that is full of energy; A team that fights hard in every second of the game. Panathinaikos fought also and we showed them that we have experience. No matter the deficit, we just wanted to fight. Even if we had lost tonight, everyone would have appreciated our effort because we tried to play hard and we tried to rally back. It's a very open group, but we want to win at least four games so as to advance to the next phase. We don’t want a repeat of what happened two seasons ago when all four teams finished with three wins each. Every game is difficult regardless of which team we play against. This is European basketball at its best and I'm happy to be part of games like this one."
TEPIC, MILENKO
Partizan Igokea
"It's the third time in a row that we lost the match against Panathinaikos in the final seconds. This match is a big experience for us. We had our chance to beat them, as we led by 15 points late in the third quarter. We tried to win it down the stretch, but I didn't make the layup. I think that we still can qualify, because I am sure that in the next games we'll play even better and we'll manage to grab some wins."
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