The offensive prowess of Olympiacos proved more than enough in a blowout 104-76 victory at home in Piraeus against visiting Virtus VidiVici Bologna on Thursday in Group A. Olympiacos not only raised its record to 2-1, but enjoys part of a five-way tie for first place with CSKA Moscow, Montepaschi Siena, Tau Ceramica and Union Olimpija. Virtus, meanwhile, fell to 1-2, tied with Zalgiris for sixth place. Olympiacos led comfortably until Virtus narrowed the difference to 63-57 late in the third quarter, but another offensive blast gave the Reds momentum to the finish. Arvydas Macijauskas paced the winners with 24 points outside, including perfect 8-for-8 two-point shooting, while Marc Jackson matched those 24 working the inside and blocked 4 shots. Qyntel Woods followed with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists off the bench, which is where Kostas Vasiliadis came from to hit 3 three-pointers among his 11 points. Dewarick Spencer was the big gun for Virtus with 20 points, while Delonte Holland was close behind with 18. However, the Virtus defense just couldn't limit the Reds, who made 66.6% of their two point attempts (26 for 39) and 89.2% from the free throw line (25 for 28).
Dewarick Spencer nailed the triple for Virtus to open the game, but soon the guests found it difficult to get connected. Olympiacos rolled up a 7-3 lead based on 5 points from Macijauskas. Luca Garri broke his team's nearly four-minute scoring silence with a three-pointer that made it 7-6. Virtus switched to zone defense, but that was not a problem for Macijauskas who created room for a nice lay-up in at 9-6. Olympiacos missed a couple of three-pointers against the zone then, however, so and when Delonte Holland sank his own triple try, the score stood tied at 9-9. No matter: Jackson finished a good Olympiacos fastbreak with a basket-plus-free throw and Macijauskas added another pair of easy baskets to quickly make it 16-9. His free throws boosted the Reds' unanswered run to 9-0 and meant Macijauskas had already reached 13 points in less 8 minutes of play. Youngster Juan Carlos Canelo drove for a nice layup to offer offensive solutions to Virtus, but Olympiacos anwered back in multiples as Woods and Lynn Greer combined for 7 points and a solid 22-11 lead for the hosts after one quarter.
Andrea Crasariol and Canelo opened the second quarter with consecutive baskets to bring Virtus closer, but Macijauskas scored again and Jackson finished a great assist by Greer at 26-15. The hosts kept dictating the tempo as Jackson dominated inside with consecutive points to make it 30-17. Will Conroy and Alan Anderson took offensive responsibility for Virtus now, but Woods did so for Olympiacos as the difference remained high, 35-21. He remained on fire, firing in a difficult triple to make it 38-23 and force Virtus coach Stefano Pillastrini to use a timeout. Still, easy baskets continued coming for Olynpiacos with Jackson making it 40-23 and reaching 13 points himself while Woods dunked impressively. Spencer chipped in a triple to cut the difference to 42-29, before Vassilopoulos, just back from injury, answered with a fade-away jumper. Free throws a tip-in by Holland let Virtus trim the differenct to an even 10 points at halftime, 46-36.
Giorgos Printezis and Spencer exchanged baskets to begin the third quarter. Virtus used offensive boards now to create better opportunities, so Olympiacos head coach Pini Gershon ordered a zone defense. The resulting rebounds gave let the Reds run in the open court to baskets by Woods, Macijauskas and Greer at 58-44. Spencer's triple for Virtus was then answered by Woods with a fastbreak layup to make it 60-47. It seemed like the points were going both ways evenly as Conroy fired in a triple over the Greer and Woods did the same over Spencer, but Virtus got behind Holland to push the difference down to single digits, at 63-54. And when Spencer netter another triple for 63-57, the momentum was now clearly in favor of the guests. Three-pointers continued falling in as Greer, Spencer and Jackson each hit from downtown for a 69-60 score. Kostas Vassiliadis came off the Olympiacos bench to keep the triples flying with 2 in a row from behind the arc that let Olympiacos breathe easily again at 75-60. Holland scored for the visitors, but Roderick Blackney added another Olympiacos triple to close the third quarter at 78-62, the biggest lead yet.
Crosariol dunked impressively from the baseline to start the final period. However, Olympiacos was easily finding the way to the basket as Jackson popped twice in a row at 82-64. As Conroy dunked and Giorgios Printezis hit a hook shot, the defenses were clearly flaggin. A basket-plus-free throw by Macijauskas set a 20-point difference, 89-69, with 6 minutes left. That soon rose to 92-69 and before long the Olympiacos fans were waiting for the Reds to reach the 100-point-mark. Jake Tsakalidis dunked for 99-76 and Vassiliadis did the honors with free throws as the hosts finished an easy night holding solid position again in Group A.
Thursday, November 8, 2007