Total team effort takes Olympiacos past Montepaschi
Olympiacos Piraeus remained undefeated in Group C by downing Montepaschi Siena 62-70 in front of a packed house at Mandela Forum in Florence, Italy, on Friday. Olympiacos used a great team effort to go up to 4-0, as none of its players scored in double figures. Vassilis Spanoulis, Bryant Dunston, Matt Lojeski and Mirza Begic all scored 9 points - and four other players scored at least 6 for the champions. Kim English and Taylor Rochestie led Montepaschi with 13 points apiece. Olympiacos started the game with a 0-11 run in which Georgios Printezis had 6 points, enough for a 11-20 lead after 10 minutes. The Reds improved their margin to 23-36 at halftime and stayed way ahead, 42-54, after 30 minutes. Montepaschi rallied and Daniel Hackett managed to bring his team within 62-67 but Lojeski and Dunston sealed the outcome down the stretch.
First quarter: Opening 0-11 run puts champs ahead
Marco Crespi tried a small starting lineup with Jeff Viggiano guarding Georgios Printezis at power forward. Mirza Begic got the champs going with a layup and Printezis soon gave Olympiacos a 0-4 lead. Printezis scored in transition, as Montepaschi did not find points in the first three minutes. Acie Law buried a wide open three-pointer and a layup by Printezis forced the hosts to call timeout at 0-11. English stepped up with a coast-to-coast layup, which Begic bettered with a three-point play. English insisted with a wild driving layup that Dunston erased at the other end. Taylor Rochestie nailed a six-meter jumper, but the Reds kept powering the boards and controlling the tempo. Rochestie and Spanoulis traded jumpers for an 8-18 score. Stratos Perperoglou and David Cournooh exchanged free throws, but Olympiacos had started to miss open shots. A free throw by Cournooh brought Montepaschi a bit closer, 11-20, after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Defense helps Olympiacos take off
Othello Hunter scored around the basket early in the second quarter. Dunston stepped up with a second-chance basket and even though Montepaschi controlled the boards through an outstanding Hunter, shots did not fall in. Rochestie hit a one-handed floater in the lane that Vangelis Mantzaris bettered with a triple that restored a double-digit Olympiacos edge, 15-25. Dunston shined with a put-back basket, which Josh Carter erased with a mid-range jumper. Kostas Sloukas made free throws and English kept Montepaschi within 18-29. Hackett sank free throws, as the game turned into an intense physical battle. Both teams struggled to score for two minutes until Lojeski fed Begic for a layup that forced Montepaschi to call timeout at 20-31. Lojeski beat the shot clock buzzer with a fallaway jumper and added a corner triple that broke the game open, 20-36. English answered from downtown to fix the halftime score at 23-36.
Third quarter: Montepaschi tries, Reds remain in charge
Rochestie struck from downtown right after the break to get the crowd involved at 26-36. Dunston split free throws, as Olympiacos kept following its game plan, making Hackett its biggest priority on defense. Mantzaris buried a three-pointer to extend the champs' lead to 26-40. Lojeski and Tomas Ress also struck from downtown and a dunk by Hunter brought the hosts closer, 31-43. Spanoulis joined the three-point shootout, Rochestie made free throws and Carter dunked off a steal. Spanoulis shined with a driving layup off a timeout, as the guests managed to slow down the game tempo. Perperoglou sank a corner triple to keep the Reds out of trouble, 35-51. English answered from downtown and a wild alley-oop dunk by Brent Petway silenced the crowd. Ress nailed a jumper, which Sloukas erased with a driving layup. A jump hook by Benjamin Ortner kept Montepaschi within 42-54.
Fourth quarter: Olympiacos holds off late rally, wins again
Perperoglou made free throws early in the fourth quarter, but English erased it with an off-balance driving layup and soon added a three-pointer that brought Montepaschi within single digits, 47-56. Erick Green scored off a steal, but Perperoglou shined with a big basket in the low post. Begic stepped up with a second-chance basket, as Olympiacos was all over the place on defense; Dunston had a huge block on English and Mantzaris collected a steal. As such, Montepaschi struggled to score midway through the fourth quarter and a turnaround jumper by Law sealed the outcome, 49-62, with four minutes to go. Petway dunked again, Rochestie buried a mid-range jumper and a layup by Viggiano kept the hosts within 53-64. Law split free throws and a three-pointer by Viggiano brought Montepaschi even closer, 56-65. Hackett followed free throws with an off-balance jumper, but Spanoulis allowed Olympiacos to put yet another victory on ice.
Friday, November 8, 2013