2014-15Top 16Round 12
March 26, 2015 CET: 20:45
Local time: 21:45 PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP STADIUM

Olympiacos rallies past Efes 86-75 to storm into playoffs!

In an epic battle that neither team led by more than 6 points through the first 35 minutes, Olympiacos Piraeus owned the finish to take an 86-75 victory over visiting Anadolu Efes Istanbul and punch its ticket to the playoffs on Thursday. Despite playing without three injured regulars - Vassilis Spanoulis, Kostas Sloukas and Brent Petway - Olympiacos raised its record to 9-3 in Top 16 Group F and assured its place in the next round. Efes dropped to 5-7 but stayed tied for the fourth and final playoff spot. The game was marked by Dusan Ivkovic coaching from the Peace and Friendship Stadium visiting bench in a Euroleague game for the first time since he and Olympiacos won their second title together in 2012. His Efes team put up a battle that featured 10 lead changes and 10 ties during the first three-and-a-half quarters as Stratos Perperoglou matched his career high with 5 three-pointers against his former team. But Olympiacos found a spark in Ioannis Papapetrou, who had played just 12 minutes in two games this season before Thursday. His 10 points in 5 minutes to start the final quarter rallied the Reds offense to score 33 points in that quarter on the way to victory. Oliver Lafayette led the winenrs with 17 points, while Georgios Printezis scored 14 and pulled 12 rebounds, matching his career high on the boards. Papapetrou added 12 points, Othello Hunter and Vangelis Mantzaris 10 each. Perperoglou led Efes with 23, while Nenad Krstic added 12 and Dario Saric 10 plus 10 rebounds.

First quarter: Late push lifts Reds

Defenses rules for the first few possessions until Tremmel Darden hit an open three-pointer in transition to get the scoreboard rolling. Perperoglou soon popped a jumper for Efes, but Olympiacos got another three-ball from Mantzaris to make it 6-2. Saric bulled his way in for one basket then repeated the process and added a free throw for 5 consecutive points and his team's first lead, 6-7. A spin and layup got a brief lead back for Olympiacos, but only until Matt Janning was left open for the first three-pointer by Efes at 8-10. After a timeout, the Olympiacos offense repeated its mistake, leaving Janning free in the same corner for another triple. Bryant Dunston answered with a layup, but after Saric hit a free throw, Efes got a steal and fastbreak from Perperoglou to make it 10-16. Matt Lojeski and Hunter also scored inside for Olympiacos to set up a big finish that saw Printezis blast a go-ahead triple from the corner for a 17-16 lead after 10 minutes.

Second quarter: Perperoglou leads Efes to tie

Free throws by Milko Bjelica took the lead back for Efes. Krstic, back from injury, dropped a hook of his own and assisted Bjelica on another to put the visitors up 17-22, forcing an Olympiacos timeout. Dimitris Katsivelis entered to spark the hosts with a layup and a steal that led to another on the fastbreak by Lafayette. After Bjelica finished an Efes fastbreak, Hunter slammed a lob. Birkan Batuk hit a three-pointer for the visitors that Lafayette answered with a two-point jumper, but Efes stayed ahead 25-27. Papapetrou, playing in just his third game this season, spun for a game-tying layup, which set up Lafayette for the go-ahead drop shot from the lane. Hunter ripped and returned an offensive rebound for a 31-28 Olympiacos lead. Perperoglou got 2 points back at the foul line and soon hit a step-back jumper to re-teak the lead, 32-33, for Efes. Krstic's finger roll added to the lead before Printezis broke loose for a sharp one-handed slam. With a timeout to set up the quarter's final play, Olympiacos found Dunston, who hit a free throw after 3 previous misses to forge a 35-35 tie at halftime.

Third quarter: Heurtel keeps Efes ahead

Perperoglou broke the tie with an open three-pointer right after the break, but at the other end, his former teammate Printezis matched him to make it 38-38. Efes did a good job of finding Krstic, who earned 4 perfect free throws before Dunston finished a pick-and-roll layup at 40-42. Mantzaris drove the lane to tie the score briefly, and after Krstic scored inside, Hunter did the same at 44-44. The game's top scorer so far, Perperoglou, found another three-pointer, his third. Mantzaris again drove inside, but Thomas Heurtel copied his teammate from the arc, giving Efes a 46-50 lead. Krstic got called for an unsportsmanlike foul, giving Lafayette a free throw that he added to with a driving layup to make it 49-50. Batuk then stepped up with a three-pointer for Efes. Hunter returned with a turnaround hook before Lojeski fed Printezis on the break for another tie, 53-53. Krstic made 1 of 2 free throws to restore Efes's lead, then Heurtel was ice-cold hitting a fastbreak three-pointer to make it 53-57 for Efes after 30 minutes.

Fourth quarter: Papapetrou leads take-over run

Papapetrou woke up the crowd with a triple to open the final quarter. After he forced a turnover on Efes, Papapetrou got to the foul line to tie it up, 57-57. And when his second free throw missed, an offensive rebound let Lafayette drive for the first Olympiacos lead of the second half, 59-58. Only seconds later, however, Perperoglou drilled another three-pointer, after which Bjelica's free throws upped the Efes lead to 59-62. Papapetrou again came to the rescue for Olympiacos with a back-down basket and free throw for a new tie, 62-62. Mantzaris found Dunston for a go-ahead basket, but Saric returned and hit free throws to make it 64-64. Lafayette stepped back and drilled a three-pointer. Saric made 2 more free throws, but then Papapetrou stopped and popped a triple to make it 70-66 with 5 minutes left. Lafayette then drilled his own shot from the arc to lift the crowd to its feet. After an Efes timeout, Batuk dialled up a restorative three-pointer for the guests, but Lafayette fed Dunston for a dunk and then Printezis hit his patented one-hander from the lane to make it 77-69. Perperoglou tried to revive Efes with a jumper, but Lojeski appeared out of nowhere with a triple for a nine-point lead, 80-71. A Krstic free throw and yet another triple from Perperoglou made it 80-75, but Printezis snuffed it out with a huge shot from the arc going into the final minute. When Lojeski scored on the break, it marked the first double-digit lead of the game, 86-75, and meant an early qualification to the playoffs for Olympiacos and their delighted home crowd.

Georgios Printezis - Olympiacos Piraeus - EB14
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Euroleague.net
Referees: VIATOR, EDDIE (FRA), ZAMOJSKI, JAKUB (POL), JIMENEZ, BENJAMIN (ESP)
Attendance: 9524
By Quarter1234
Olympiacos Piraeus17181833
Anadolu Efes Istanbul16192218
End of Quarter1234
Olympiacos Piraeus17355386
Anadolu Efes Istanbul16355775
Olympiacos Piraeus
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 HUNTER, OTHELLO 19:48 10 5/8     2 1 3 1 1 1     1 1 11
6 DUNSTON, BRYANT 20:05 9 4/7   1/4 1 3 4 2 2 1     3 3 10
9 PAPAPETROU, IOANNIS 14:11 12 2/3 2/4 2/4                 2 5 10
14 CHRISTODOULOU, ANTREAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
15 PRINTEZIS, GEORGIOS 28:43 15 3/6 3/5   3 9 12     2     1   19
16 AGRAVANIS, DIMITRIOS 11:24     0/2     2 2           3   -3
17 MANTZARIS, VANGELIS 31:19 10 3/6 1/3 1/2   5 5 7   2   1 4 5 14
18 KAVVADAS, VASILEIOS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
19 KATSIVELIS, DIMITRIOS 7:01 2 1/1   0/1   1 1             1 3
20 LAFAYETTE, OLIVER 20:43 17 5/7 2/7 1/2   2 2 3         2 3 15
21 DARDEN, TREMMELL 19:17 3 0/1 1/3           1 1       1 1
24 LOJESKI, MATT 27:29 8 2/4 1/3 1/1 1 5 6 6   1 1   3 2 15
Team           3 4 7               7
Totals 200:00 86 25/43 10/27 6/14 10 32 42 19 4 8 1 1 19 21 102
        58.1% 37% 42.9%
Head coach: SFAIROPOULOS, GIANNIS
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
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 BALBAY, DOGUS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6 OSMAN, CEDI 8:35   0/3 0/2 0/2 1   1 1   1     2 2 -6
7 PERPEROGLOU, STRATOS 31:43 23 3/5 5/10 2/2   4 4           4 1 17
8 BATUK, BIRKAN 18:47 9   3/4     2 2           3 1 8
9 SARIC, DARIO 33:02 10 2/4 0/2 6/7 1 9 10 2 1 1   1   5 21
10 DRAPER, DONTAYE 21:04   0/1 0/1     3 3 1 1       2 1 2
12 KRSTIC, NENAD 23:03 12 3/6   6/8 1 3 4 3   1 1   3 5 16
13 LASME, STEPHANE 8:24   0/2     1 1 2 2 1 1     1   1
22 KORKMAZ, FURKAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
23 JANNING, MATT 15:54 6 0/1 2/4             1     3   -1
31 HEURTEL, THOMAS 24:15 6 0/3 2/3     2 2 7   2     2 1 8
51 BJELICA, MILKO 15:13 9 2/6 0/2 5/6 2 1 3 1   1     1 3 7
Team             4 4               4
Totals 200:00 75 10/31 12/28 19/25 6 29 35 17 3 8 1 1 21 19 77
        32.3% 42.9% 76%
Head coach: IVKOVIC, DUSAN

Head Coaches

SFAIROPOULOS, GIANNIS
Olympiacos Piraeus
"It's a very important win. With all the problems we had, our offense was much better after halftime. We scored 51 points, and we had continuity on defense. We scored some baskets that we missed in the first half - three-point shots, mainly - and that made the difference. All the injuries and having players out of the squad made the others fight with more aggressiveness to give us this very big win."
IVKOVIC, DUSAN
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
"Congratulations to Olympiacos, because they played a very good game and deserved to win. We tried to play our basketball and did it, but only for 30 minutes. Then, in the last quarter, Olympiacos outscored us, hit 6 out of 8 three pointers and destroyed our defense. We didn't have the right reaction and now we have to find ourselves and try to win the last two games. I want to thank Olympiacos for the award ceremony, the warm reception and the big moment I experienced once again here. I wish them all the best."

Players

PAPAPETROU, IOANNIS
Olympiacos Piraeus
"Victory and the big team effort are what counts tonight, not my individual performance. All the guys tried to play hard and give their best. I think that our big heart was the key to overcome the absences and beat Anadolu Efes. We played like a fist."
MANTZARIS, VANGELIS
Olympiacos Piraeus
"We recorded a very big win tonight and I am really proud of my team, my teammates and the whole team. With Spaonoulis, Sloukas, Petway and Tsairelis unable to play, all the other guys had to give something more than usually and it worked out. Every player has his own role, but sometimes you have to overcome it. I am proud for one more reason; Olympiacos and Barcelona are the only teams that have advanced for ten consecutive seasons to the Euroleague's playoffs, which is an outstanding achievement."
HUNTER, OTHELLO
Olympiacos Piraeus
"In the locker room, Coach Sfairopoulos was very clear. He told us to keep fighting and fight again and fight until the end. We played hard and the result is fair. Now we will go to Moscow for another big fight."
PRINTEZIS, GEORGIOS
Olympiacos Piraeus
"We had the right reaction after the two consecutive losses and this makes me very happy. We found the path to score in the last quarter and to win a very important game, to stay alive in the battle for getting the home-court advantage in the playoffs. However this is not the end of the world, because I think that we can beat any team in any place."
PERPEROGLOU, STRATOS
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
"It is a very strange feeling for me to return and play against my previous team, where I played the best basketball in my career. I spent here two great seasons and I will remember it forever. I want to thank the club and the fans for the award they offered to me and the reception. Olympiacos deserved to win and I wish for them to go to the Final four. Despite their very serious absences, they managed to score 33 points in the fourth quarter and killed us. To play against such an opponent, you have to remain focused and play a consistent game for 40 minutes, something that we did not do tonight. Fortunately Laboral Kutxa lost tonight and we have still our hopes to make it to the playoffs."