Olympiacos confirmed its status as Group A co-leader when it held off visiting Dynamo Moscow 86-73 in Pireaus, Greece on Thursday. Olympiacos improved to 5-1 and remains tied with Tau Ceramica for first place in Group A. Meanwhile, Dynamo dropped to 3-3 and joins a three-way tie for the third place along with Le Mans and Efes Pilsen. Henry Domercant led the winners with 23 points, Andrija Zizic added 22 on 8-for-9 shooting while Scoonie Penn had 14 for Olympiacos. Antonis Fotsis had 16 points for Dynamo, still without Lazaros Papadopoulos and Miroslav Raicevic. Bojan Popovic added 14 points while Travis Hansen had 13 for the guests, whose newcomer Obinna Ekezie contributed 7 points and 6 rebounds off the bench. Domercant had 6 points in a 14-2 run which allowed the Reds to get a 45-32 margin at halftime. Hansen and Ekezie helped Dynamo to get within 58-53 late in the third quarter, while a three-pointer by Dmitry Domani brought the guests even closer, 67-64, with 6 minutes to go. Zizic and Ryan Stack allowed Olympiacos to seal the win down the stretch.
Vassilopoulos started with a two-hand dunk and Zizic added a pair of free throws to help Olympiacos leap ahead 4-0. Dynamo reacted immediately, however, as Popovic found an easy layup and Hansen a fadeaway jumper. Popovic scored again as Dynamo went ahead, but Acker fired in a triple to put the Reds back up 7-6. The Olympiacos backcourt soon faced foul trouble as Scoonie Penn and Henry Domercant were called for their second each. Damir Mulaomerovic came off the bench to dishto Zizic and chip in a three-pointer at 12-10. Domercant added 5 points of his own on a layup-plus-triple combination to finish a bit 8-0 run as Olympiacos sailed ahead 17-10. Dynamo was having trouble creating opportunities against the zone defense of the Reds until now, but after an exchange of free throws, Hansen drove to score in traffic, making it 19-14. Popovic was the last man to score in the quarter, bringing Dynamo as close as 21-16.
Dynamo continued rising into the second quarter. Hansen scored for the visitors and then found Sergey Monya open for a triple from the corner that tied the game at 21-21. Penn and Hansen bore offensive responsibility for their teams until Acker and Domercant scored jump shots for the Reds to go up 30-26. Panagiotis Vassilopoulos added points in the paint for Olympiacos, but Eddie Gill did the same for the guests at 32-28. Olympiacos managed to control the scoreboard, but it was evident that the tempo remained in favor of Dynamo as the Reds weren’t allowed to run the floor and find fastbreak baskets. But that soon changed as Domercant and Zizic connected to lift the difference into double digits for the first time at 38-28. Antonis Fotsis scored his first basket at 40-30, but Zizic answered back quickly and proved the man to beat the buzzer too, as Olympiacos went to the half with its biggest advantage yet, 45-32.
Some bad decisions by both teams were stopped when Domercant and Fotsis connected from behind the arc for Olympiacos and Dynamo respectively. Domercant increased the difference to 51-35 with another triple as the hosts remained in full charge of the lead and the game’s tempo. Fotsis was not ready to surrender, however, as he added another 4 points, but Domercant was in the zone, scoring his third triple in as many minutes to make it 54-41. Popovic dunked on a fastbreak for 54-43 and then Dynamo found another pair of open three-pointers by Hansen and Fotsis, cutting the margin to 7 points, 56-49. New Dynamo big man Obinna Ekezie added free throws to extend the visitors' run to 8-0 at 56-51. Zizic broke the Reds’ scoring silence, but Ekezie continued to cause trouble to the Olympiacos frontline, taking advantage of his size. Penn and Giannis Bouroussis allowed the hosts to rebuild the difference at 63-53 but Fotsis stepped up again for Dynamo as the third quarter ended 65-57.
Vassilopoulos made an impressive tip-in to start the final quarter, but Popovic answered for Dynamo. Dimitry Domani connected for the first time in the game to make it 67-61 and seconds later popped in a triple at 67-64 to make it clear that Dynamo was there to fight till the end. Zizic ended 3 minutes of silence for Olympiacos with free throws, then Penn added 5 points in the row with free throws and a three-pointer to make it 74-64. It was now Dynamo that suffered without finding the net until Ekezie reacted with 3 points and Dimitry Khoztov chipped in a great jumper that made it 74-69 with 3 minutes left. Popovic's free throws then made it 75-71, but Zizic found a critical tip-in tht allowed Olympiacos to breath at 77-71. Ryan Stack went to the line to increase the margin to 79-71 and when Acker stole the ball from Hansen on the other end it was clear that Olympiacos had held off mighty Dynamo. The final buzzer found the Reds celebrating a 86-73 win.
Thursday, November 30, 2006