Olympiacos held off a feisty RheinEnergie Cologne for a 77-73 win
Olympiacos held off a feisty RheinEnergie Cologne for a 77-73 win at the Peace and Friendship Arena in Piraeus, Greece, on Thursday to finish the regular season in third place in Group A. The Reds' win improved their record to 10-4, while RheinEnergie dropped its eighth straight game to finish its inaugural Euroleague campaign at 2-12. Andrija Zizic shot 10-for-14 from the field for 25 points and Ioannis Bouroussis had a double-double of 12 points, 11 rebounds and 4 steals to lead the home team. Scoonie Penn and Manolis Papamakarios added 11 points apiece. Demond Mallet drilled six three-pointers on his way to a season-high 23 points to lead RheinEnergie. Devin Green added 18 points and Immanuel McElroy posted 15 points and 10 rebounds. Olympiacos used an 11-0 run in the third period to build a double-digit lead that sat at 47-37 at halftime. Mallet led the charge as the visitors stormed back in the fourth quarter and tied the score. It came down to the final minute before Green came up short and Penn sealed the win from the line.
Olympiacos started with three missed shots, but as many offensive rebounds, too. Bouroussis dunked with force, but Green answered with a triple at 2-3. The hosts looked to feed the ball inside as Zizic exploded for 5 consecutive points. Alex Acker used his left hand to increase the Reds run to 7-0 before Green added free throws to make it 9-5. The visitors had trouble creating opportunities and had only scored 5 points – all from Green – in the first 5 minutes. But RheinEnergie strengthened its defense and when Mallet drove to the basket the score stood at 10-7. Zizic's dominance on the offensive end gave him 8 as the hosts led 12-7. Green answered in style and McElroy brought the visitors even closer at 13-11. Zizic kept hurting RheinEnergie in the paint and Henry Domercant and Panagiotis Vassilopoulos came in off the bench to score and build a 7-point cushion. Mallet stepped up with a pair of triples help Cologne stay close at the end of the first period, 20-17.
Janar Talts nailed a jumper, Zizic a layup and Mallet another three-pointer that resulted in a tie at 22-22. Acker threw down a dunk to give Olympiacos the lead back, but Mallet really was in the zone; his fourth consecutive triple put RheinEnergie ahead for the first time at 25-24. However, Zizic remained hot too – a basket-plus-free-throw of his made it 27-25. When Papamakarios stole and ran the fast break, the Reds had restored a 29-25 difference. Zizic reached 17 points in 13 minutes with an easy layup as RheinEnergie proved unable to push him out of the paint. Bourousis increased the hosts’ run to 11-0 and made it 35-25 before McElroy scored for the visitors. Acker dunked on the fast break to make ti 38-27 as Olympiacos found the opportunities to run-and-gun. RheinEnergie coach Sasa Obradovic called for a timeout to slow down the game’s tempo. But, as much as Cologne tried to get closer, Olympiacos answered back. Papamakarios’s triple made it 43-31. The hosts did not give up, though. A 6-0 run punctuated by McElroy’s dunk made it 45-37, but Penn brought it to double digits again, 47-37, before the buzzer sounded for halftime.
Zizic opened the third quarter the same way he closed the first half; with an easy layup. Guido Gronheid connected for Cologne to make it 49-41 as Olympiacos now suffered some bad decisions and poor shooting. The Reds had scored just one basket after 4 minutes of play in the third period, but RheinEnergie did not take advantage of that and only managed to cut it to 49-43. The guest were going to the line, but with poor results. The game lost its rhythm as neither Olympiacos nor Cologne could take charge of the tempo. Domercant nailed a three-pointer to give the hosts a push forward to 54-43. Mallet reached for his gun again as an off-balance triple of his allowed RheinEnergie get as close as 54-50 and cause Olympiacos coach Pini Gershon to call timeout. Talts grabbed an offensive board and scored to make it 54-52 before Papamakarios popped in a triple at 57-52 as the score stood at 59-53 after 30 minutes.
Zizic and Talts exchanged baskets before Green nailed a triple to bring it to 61-58. Bourousis went for a basket-plus-free-throw at 64-58. Then RheinEnergie changed its defense to zone and Olympiacos missed three straight shots. Talts punished the Reds with a triple from the corner, 64-61. Vassilopoulos turn-around jumper was immediately answered back by Mallet’s sixth triple so far, 66-64. It was obvious that the never-give-up spirit was leading Cologne till the end. After some free throws for both teams, Green and McElroy found easy layups to tie the game at 71-71. Green dunked with force to put the guests ahead 71-73 as Olympiacos kept having big trouble setting up its offense against RheinEnergie's defense. Penn tied it with free throws and Bourousis gave the hosts’ the lead back with a dunk, 75-73. Green missed the opportunity to tie it and when Penn made another two from the line, there was no time left for RheinEnergie to survive.
Thursday, February 1, 2007