Maroussi BC registered its first Euroleague win in club history by downing Union Olimpija 75-81 in epic fashion in Group C in Ljubljana, Slovenia on Thursday night. Maroussi overcame key absences and improved to 1-1. It faces undefeated Group C leader Lottomatica Roma next week. Meanwhile, Olimpija dropped to 0-2 and hosts Caja Laboral in already a critical showdown for both teams. Dimitrios Mavroeidis paced the winners with 18 points. Jamon Lucas added 14, Pat Calathes had 13 while Jared Homan got 12 for Maroussi, that travelled to Ljubljana without Kostas Kaimakoglou and Michalis Pelekanos, both sidelined with the H1N1 flu. Matt Walsh led Olimpija with 32 points on 7-of-9 three-pointers. Sani Becirovic added 13 while Saso Ozbolt had 11 for the hosts, that committed as many as 22 turnovers tonight. Olimpija led 49-48 late in the third quarter but Marios Batis and Mavroeidis allowed Maroussi to get a 52-58 edge soon after that. Walsh buried three consecutive three-pointers to tie the game, 64-64, midway through the fourth quarter. A 2-14 run that Levon Kendall capped with consecutive layups allowed Maroussi to seal a well-deserved win.
Olimpija tried to open the court with Becirovic, Walsh and Uros Slokar in its starting lineup. Meanwhile, Maroussi tried a more convencional lineup, trying to feed Homan and Kendall down low. Slokar got Olimpija going with a layup but Homan sank a jumper while Calathes added a close basket to give Maroussi its first lead, 3-4. Walsh scored in transition and even when Homan scored again, Becirovic soon gave Olimpija a 7-6 lead. Kendall scored again, igniting a 0-6 dunk that Lucas capped with a dunk to make Olimpija call timeout at 7-12. Walsh rescued the hosts with a three-pointer but Maroussi kept running its offense through its big men. Mavroeidis stepped on court and scored twice in the paint to keep the guests ahead, 12-16. Walsh fed Gasper Vidmar for an easy basket while Ozbolt strck from downtown to give Olimpija a 17-16 edge. Free throws by Mavroeidis allowed Maroussi to regain the lead, 17-18, after 10 minutes.
Calathes scored twice around the basket early in the second quarter but Walsh stayed on fire while Ozbolt scored off a steal to keep Olimpija within 21-22. Olimpija tried to get Vladimir Golubovic involved without much success. Meanwhile, newcomer Igor Milosevic fed Mavroeidis for another easy basket and soon added a layup that made it a three-point game, 23-26. Olimpija tried to run its offense through Slokar, that followed a free throw with a put-back layup to tie the game again, 26-26. Calathes kept pacing Maroussi but he didn't find much help around. Meanwhile, Walsh followed a jumper with a bomb from downtown to make Olimpija regain the lead, 31-28, late in this period. Lucas took over with a dunk but the guests kept committing turnovers - as many as 13 in the first half. Slokar scored again but Mavroeidis bettered that with a three-point play that allowed Maroussi to tie the game, 33-33, at halftime.
Lucas scored in penetration immediately after the break but Becirovic answered from downtown and added a coast-to-coast layup for a 38-35 Olimpija edge. Calathes struck from downtown, as Maroussi stayed patient in offense, extending its possessions until it found an open shot. Lucas found space for an uncontested layup but Golubovic put the hosts back ahead, 41-40. Homan shined with a jump hook while a jumper by Billy Keys - his first points - gave Maroussi a 41-44 edge. Walsh made free throws off an Olimpija timeout and soon added an off-balance three-pointer for a 46-46 tie. Calathes scored in transition but an unstoppable Walsh answered from downtown to provide another lead change, 49-48. Olimpija had improved its defense, not allowing open shots now. Even with that, Homan shined with a power basket in the low post while Ozbolt and Lucas traded triples to fix the score at 52-53 after 30 minutes.
Mavroeidis rolled off the pick to score down low early in the fourth quarter, as Marossi played with more intensity at both ends. Batis fired in a seven-meter bomb to boost the guests' lead to 52-58. Becirovic returned to the floor off a timeout to feed Walsh for his fifth three-pointer. Batis beat the shot clock with an unbelievable triple that Walsh - who else? - bettered that with an incredible four-point play to keep Olimpija as close as 59-61. Mavroeidis scored again but an unstoppable Walsh took over with yet another triple while Becirovic tied the game with backdoor layup, 64-64. Kendall joined the three-point shootout and Jamon silenced the crowd with a jumper, 64-69. Walsh and Mavroeidis traded free throws but Olimpija kept committing turnovers right when it mattered. A six-meter jumper by Keys sealed the outcome, 66-74, with over 2 minutes to go. A jump hook by Kendall allowed all Maroussi players to celebrate that the team is ready to compete for a Top 16 spot in difficult Group C.
Thursday, October 29, 2009