Nedovic, Papagiannis carry Greens to victory
Nemanja Nedovic scored 33 points and Georgios Papagiannis netted a career-high 18 as Panathinaikos OPAP Athens snapped a three-game losing streak with an 88-71 victory over
LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne on Wednesday night at OAKA. Nedovic made 5 three-pointers and 6 assists and Papagiannis added 8 rebounds and 3 blocks for the Greens, who improved their record to 6-12 on the season. Dinos Mitouglou contributed 11 points and 9 rebounds to the winning effort, the first victory for Kostas Charalampidis as the club's interim head coach. Norris Cole paced the ASVEL attack with 15 points, David Lighty netted 13 and Moustapha Fall amassed 10 points and 9 rebounds. The loss dropped ASVEL to 5-13 on the season. The game was tied 42-42 late in the second quarter before a Nedovic three gave Panathinaikos the lead for good and the Greens' defense held ASVEL to just 29 points in the second half.
Cole made an instant impact with a steal and layup followed by a three-pointer all in the first minute. Lighty struck from deep to give ASVEL a 2-8 lead, but soon committed his second foul as Nedovic heated up with 5 straight points for the Greens. A three by Guerschon Yabusele prompted a Panathinaikos timeout at 7-15. The duo of Nedovic and Papagiannis led an 18-2 run that turned the game upside down. Papagiannis gave the hosts their first lead, 18-17, with an alley-oop slam and by the end of the run, the Greens led by 8. Ismael Bako and Allerick Freeman trimmed the gap to 25-21 after 10 minutes. Howard Sant-Roos had good minutes for the Greens early in the second quarter, though a three by Freeman kept ASVEL close, 30-26. Fall took charge for ASVEL with a put-back and a dish a cutting Cole to get the visitors within 2. Lighty tied it at 36-36 before the teams started to trade baskets. A three by Nedovic gave the home team a 45-42 advantage at the half.
Nedovic remained hot with a three to open the second half. Fall and Yabusele kept ASVEL close, however, Nedovic's fourth three of the night made it 55-48 midway through the third quarter and prompted an ASVEL timeout. Papagiannis and Mitouglou helped the Greens add to the lead despite the best efforts of Bako for ASVEL. A steal and layup by Mitouglou gave Panathinaikos a double-digit lead and a Nedovic layup made it 70-60 through three quarters. Derrick Walton Jr. converted a three-point play for ASVEL early in the fourth quarter to trim the gap to 7. The Greens replied with 11 straight points to take a commanding 83-65 lead with less than 4 minutes remaining. The lead peaked at 19 shortly after on a three by Mack as the hosts rolled to the win.
Star of the night
Nemanja Nedovic did not set a career-high in scoring – he did that with a 39-point effort in Tel Aviv last month, but the star guard was just as impressive this time with all 33 of his points coming in the first three quarters. Nedovic scored 13 points with 4 assists in the first quarter alone and erupted for 15 third-quarter points to help his team to a double-digit lead. Nedovic's PIR of 40 was also the second-best of his career.
Georgios Papagiannis was at his best playing against another one of the league's biggest and best centers, Moustapha Fall. Papagiannis set career-highs in scoring (18 points) and PIR (28), while flirting with a double-double. He added 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 blocks. He is now tied with Real Madrid's Walter Tavares for the league lead with 2.0 blocks per game.
Panathinaikos outrebounded the visitors 41-32 and recorded twice as many assists – 23 to 10. Ultimately, the biggest difference was in shooting; the hosts outshot ASVEL on two-pointers (63.2%
to 49.0%), threes (33.3% to 25%) and free throws (84.2% to 66.7%).
Both teams play their Round 20 games on Friday night on the road. Panathinaikos travels to Turkey to take on Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul. ASVEL will remain in the Greek capital to take on Olympiacos Piraeus.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021