Spanoulis, Reds grab thrilling win, Top 16 berth
In a game that featured all the drama a fan could want, Olympiacos Piraeus edged Valencia Basket 77-76 at the Peace & Friendship Stadium to remain undefeated in Group D and clinch a berth in the Top 16. The game featured five lead changes and three ties in the last three and a half minutes and nearly saw another, but Nemanja Nedovic’s jumper that would have won the game came after the final buzzer. Vassilis Spanoulis, who scored what proved to be the game-winning free throw with 11.5 seconds left, led the hosts with 15 points and 7 assists. Bryant Dunston added 14 points, Tremmell Darden scored 11 and Dimitris Agravanis totaled 8 points and 10 rebounds. Spanoulis scored 10 first-quarter points and the Reds stretched a 10-0 run into the second to take a 33-21 lead. Valencia fought back behind Pau Ribas and closed to 45-40 at halftime. Valencia held the hosts scoreless for over four minutes in the third quarter and took the lead on a Ribas jumper. Olympiacos pulled back in front 53-49, but Bojan Dubljevic put Valencia on his back for a 1-15 run that Nemanja Nedovic capped with a steal and slam to make it 54-64 early in the fourth quarter. Olympiacos came back, took a 71-70 lead on an Oliver Lafayette three and the game stayed close through the thrilling finish. Dubljevic, Ribas and Vladimir Lucic scored 16 points apiece for Valencia, which dropped to 1-5.
First quarter: Spanoulis pours in 10 points to lead Reds to hot start
Dunston opened the scoring with a pair of free throws. Ribas picked up Serhiy Lishchuk’s missed free throw and scored before Guillem Vives, making his first Euroleague start, added free throws to make it 2-5. Dunston cane through in the paint, but Lucic buried an open three from the corner to put his team up 4. Vangelos Mantzaris penetrated and Lishchuk tipped in his own miss. Spanoulis got himself on the scoreboard and Darden, fouled on the break, evened the game at 10-10. Romain Sato stopped Dunston once inside, but the Reds continued feeding the big man. Sato found a cutting Lishchuk for a layup Dunston evened the score on the offensive glass at 12-12. Spanoulis drove and made an amazing circus shot to put the home team back ahead. Nedovic came in and sank a pull-up jumper to give the visitors a 15-16 edge. Brent Petway was fouled shooting a three and made the resulting 3 free throws and Spanoulis soon scored to put the hosts up 4. Dubljevic and Oliver Lafayette traded threes. Dubljevic added free throws before Spanoulis beat the buzzer for a triple and a 26-21 lead.
Second quarter: Dunston dominates, but Ribas keeps Valencia in the picture
Spanoulis found Darden on the break for a high-flying slam and Lafayette drained a three over Nedovic to give the hosts a double-digit lead. Dunston received a technical for “flopping,” but little changed as he dunked to cap a 10-0 run for a 33-21 advantage. A Sato steal led to a Lucic alley-oop layup, but Dunston’s dunk at the other end kept the momentum with the hosts. Kreso Loncar sank a jumper and Vives added a three-point play for bring Valencia within 35-28. Darden got a lucky bounce to make a three at the other end. Dunston played a big role on the glass at both ends to keep the hosts in total control. Ribas hit an important three for Valencia and Sato added a jumper to claw within 7. Agravanis fought for an offensive rebound and layup, but Ribas countered with a jumper. Spanoulis dished to Dunson for another slam, however a Sato three trimmed the deficit to 44-38. Ribas penetrated for a layup to make it 45-40 at the break.
Third quarter: Dubljevic fuels 1-11 run as Valencia pull in front
Dunston scored and drew a foul to reassert his presence on the second half. Vives drained a three to bring Valencia within 4. Then Dubljevic muscled his way inside for a pair of baskets to even the score at 47-47. Ribas sank a jumper in transition to give Valencia the lead. Darden put back his own miss to end a four-minute Olympiacos scoring drought. Petway and Othello Hunter each dunked to push the Reds in front 53-49. Dubljevic netted free throws and finished again inside to make it 54-53. Dubljevic passed from the low post to Lucic for a three and then banked in a shot. Ribas beat the third-quarter buzzer to make it 54-60.
Fourth quarter: Drama till the final buzzer
Nedovic made his mark on the game with steal and a slam… And then another steal and dunk to make it a 10-point game. Kostas Sloukas came alive for the hosts with a score and then a steal and assist to Hunter for a slam. A Ribas triple made it 58-67. Agravanis scored on the offensive glass and Spanoulis drew Vives’s fifth foul and split free throws to get within 6. Luke Harangody was called for an unsportsmanlike foul trying to stop Sloukas on the break. After Sloukas free throws, Lucic hit a big three to make it 63-70. Spanoulis fed Hunter for a slam and Agravanis drew Olympiacos within 68-70 with a triple. Then Lafayette drained another as Olympiacos regained the lead. Lucic free throws put Valencia back up 1. After Sloukas free throws, it was 73-72. Dubljevic netted a three with 44 seconds remaining to give the visitors control. After a timeout, Spanoulis buried a deep three with 36 seconds to go. Ribas split free throws to tie the game at 76-76 with 25 seconds left. Spanoulis drew a foul and split free throws with 11.5 seconds on the clock. Nedovic raced downcourt and missed a layup, but the visitors got the ball for one last out-of-bounds play with 1.3 seconds left, but did not get what would have been the game-winning shot off in time.
Thursday, November 20, 2014