Champs' fourth-quarter defense leads to big road win
Reigning Turkish Airlines Euroleague champion Olympiacos Piraeus overcame an extraordinary basketball atmosphere to defeat Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul 67-78 on the road in Group C on Thursday. Olympiacos now leads Group C with a 2-0 record, while Galatasaray dropped to 1-1. Euroleague MVP Vassilis Spanoulis paced the winners with 18 points. Matt Lojeski added 15 while Brent Petway had 11 for Olympiacos. Nate Jawai led Galatasaray with 22 points on 7-of-8 two-point shooting. Erwin Dudley and Carlos Arroyo each had 10 for the hosts. Spanoulis took over early and had 12 first-quarter points, including a buzzer-beating triple, which gave Olympiacos an 11-22 lead after 10 minutes. A three-point play by Bryant Dunston soon made it a 16-point game. Galatasaray got within 30-42 at halftime. Carlos Arroyo stepped up after the break and got some help from Jawai as Galatasaray regained the lead, 57-56, late in the third quarter. An alley-oop slam by Jawai made it a one-point game, with 6 minutes to go. But Olympiacos improved its defense right when it mattered and Georgios Printezis and an outstanding Lojeski fueled a 2-14 run that sealed the outcome down the stretch.
First quarter: Spanoulis showcases his MVP skills
Coach Georgios Bartzokas surprised everyone by placing Dimitrios Agravanis in the Reds' starting lineup. Spanoulis got Olympiacos going with a driving layup, before Erwin Dudley and Agravanis traded layups. A three-point play by Manuchar Markoishvili gave Galatasaray its first lead, 5-4. Jamont Gordon sank a mid-range shot that Spanoulis erased with another driving basket. Free throws by Dunston put Olympiacos back ahead, 7-8. Spanoulis scored again off a timeout, as Galatasaray struggled to find open shots. Dunston shined with a power basket and a wild steal by Agravanis and a three-pointer by an unstoppable Spanoulis boosted the guests' lead to 7-15. Spanoulis fed Lojeski for a close basket and a four-meter jumper by Cedric Simmons made it a 12-point game after a 0-15 run. Galatasaray could not see the way to the basket, missing 11 consecutive shots until Zoran Erceg made 4 free throws. A buzzer-beating three-point shot by Spanoulis fixed the score at 11-22 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Galatasaray tries, Olympiacos does not panic
Both teams struggled to score early in the second quarter until Henry Domercant made a free throw. Spanoulis found Petway for a corner three-pointer, but an alley-oop dunk by Jawai kept Galatasaray within 14-25. Olympiacos struggled to score without its undeniable leader on court, as Acie Law and Kostas Sloukas did not find the right rhythm on offense. Meanwhile, a driving layup by Gordon brought Galatasaray within single digits, 16-25. Stratos Perperoglou scored around the basket, Erceg split foul shots and a three-pointer by Sloukas kept Olympiacos way ahead, 17-30. Erceg and Gordon sank free throws off a timeout, but a triple by Petway and a three-point play by Dunston broke the game open, 20-36. Markoishvili made foul shots, Spanoulis attacked the basket for a left-handed layup and Jawai brought the hosts a bit closer, 25-38. Arroyo hit a technical free throw - his first point - and Jawai scored down low, but Lojeski gave Olympiacos a 30-42 margin at the break.
Third quarter: Arroy-oh! Galatasaray returns to the game
Arroyo buried a mid-range shot immediately after the break and a turnaround jumper by Dudley got the crowd involved at 34-42. Arroyo collected a steal that allowed Dudley to make it a 6-point game. Lojeski silenced the crowd with a three-pointer, but a fast break layup by Huseyin Koksal kept the hosts as close as 38-45. Printezis stepped up with a tip-in that Jawai erased with free throws. Law took over with an acrobatic driving basket, good for a 40-49 Olympiacos lead. Dudley hit a jump hook,which Petway improved on with 3 foul shots. Arroyo found Koksal for a corner triple and a dunk by Jawai brought Galatasaray within 47-52. Petway flew high for a put-back slam and free throws by Spanoulis gave Olympiacos some fresh air at 47-56. Arroyo buried one from downtown and fed Dudley for a jump hook, good for a 52-56 Galatasaray deficit. Jawai and a wild, off-balance triple by Arroyo completed the hosts' comeback, 57-56. Spanoulis and Vangelis Mantzaris made free throws to put Olympiacos back ahead, 57-59.
Fourth quarter: Olympiacos improves defense, gets big win
Simmons dunked early in the fourth quarter, but Gordon fed Jawai for another alley-oop slam. Perperoglou stepped up with a big three-pointer from the top of the key, as Galatasaray kept running its offense through Jawai. He shined again with an alley-oop layup and did even better with a one-handed slam that made it 63-64 with six minutes to go. Sloukas and Markoishvili traded baskets and a three-pointer by Lojeski extended his team's lead to 65-69. Jawai returned to the bench and Galatasaray struggled to find a new go-to guy. A three-pointer by Printezis boosted the Reds' lead to 65-72 with three minutes left. Galatasaray could not find the way to the basket right when it mattered most. Free throws by Lojeski and a put-back dunk by Dunston sealed the outcome, 65-76, in the next-to-last minute. Galatasaray, pushed by an incredible crowd, never gave up, but the reigning champions returned home with a valuable road win.
Thursday, October 24, 2013