2020-21Regular SeasonRound 21
January 22, 2021 CET: 19:00
Local time: 20:00 ZALGIRIO ARENA

Last-second Walkup wins a thriller for Zalgiris

Zalgiris Kaunas edged out Olympiacos Piraeus in an 81-79 thriller on Friday night as Thomas Walkup scored with 1 second remaining to cap a 9-0 run in the last two minutes. The first half was fast moving as both offenses found their rhythm, and Zalgiris led 45-44 at half-time. The home side threatened to pull clear in the third quarter but Olympiacos kept battling, and a flurry of three-pointers gave the visitors control late on. It was 72-79 with two minutes remaining but Olympiacos couldn’t score again and Zalgiris produced a series of big plays, culminating in Walkup’s steal and score. Joffrey Lauvergne led the winning side with 21 points and 7 rebounds, while Arturas Milaknis scored 11 and Augustine Rubit added 10. Olympiacos was paced by 16 points apiece for veterans Kostas Sloukas and Georgios Printezis, and Sasha Vezenkov added 11 points in defeat. The victory keeps Zalgiris in the playoffs places with a 12-9 record, just ahead of Olympiacos (11-10).

Milaknis opened the scoring from close-range before Sloukas and Marius Grigonis added triples and Lauvergne hit a mid-range jumper for a 7-3 edge. Walkup and Paulius Jankunas stretched the lead with triples, but Aaron Harrison’s three-point play and another Sloukas deep strike kept Olympiacos close, 13-9. Harrison was also on target from deep, before Lauvergne and Hassan Martin struck inside blows. A triple from Charles Jenkins was answered by a threeball and driving layup from Rokas Jokubaitis, and a buzzer-beater in transition by Lukas Lekavicius gave Zalgiris a 26-20 lead after ten minutes. Jokubaitis and Sloukas added further triples early in the second, and Rubit scored twice inside for a 33-25 lead. Nigel Hayes kept the three-point party rolling but two baskets for Vezenkov got Olympiacos closer, and Livio Jean-Charles scored at the basket to make it 36-33. Vezenkov and Jean-Charles capped a 0-9 run to give the Reds their first lead. Vassilis Spanoulis and Printezis got on the scoreboard, but Milaknis hit a triple and Martynas Geben added a putback to send Zalgiris in front, 45-44 at the break.

Printezis scored twice early in the third, either side of a three-point play by Lauvergne. Inside strikes from Octavius Ellis and Hayes kept it tied, 50-50, before Lauvergne struck again with a tip-in and Printezis stayed hot with a trademark floater. The scoring finally slowed before Lauvergne’s hook shot and Milaknis’s triple made it 57-52 midway through the third. The red-hot Lauvergne battled for two more scores to stretch the lead, 61-54, but a four-point play by Sloukas reignited Olympiacos. Printezis netted again and it was 63-60 at the end of the third. Rubit and Martin were on target early in the fourth, before Printezis struck from deep and Shaq McKissic drove to the basket to tie it, 67-67. Grigonis and Vezenkov made three-pointers to preserve parity with five minutes left. Spanoulis and Printezis both hit triples to put Olympiacos ahead, and Spanoulis added another to make it 72-79 with three minutes on the clock. An alley-oop from Lauvergne gave the home team hope, and a Milaknis three-pointer made it 77-79 with a minute left. Lauvergne tied it up with a fastbreak dunk, and Walkup stole the ball away from Sloukas for the winning score. Olympiacos had 0.8 seconds to force overtime, but Grigonis leapt to disrupt the attempted alley-oop and the win stayed in Kaunas.

Zalgiris maintains dominance over Reds

The victory prolonged a hot streak for Zalgiris against Olympiacos. The Lithuanian team has now won seven of its last eight meetings with the Reds, including a 67-68 victory in Piraeus in Round 1, and six in a row at home.

Superb Lauvergne dodges foul worries

Zalgiris appeared to have run into foul trouble before half-time as big men Augustine Rubit and Joffrey Lauvergne both moved to 3 fouls. But Lauvergne was able to play the rest of the game without conceding any more fouls and took a leading role in the victory, scoring 4 of his team’s 9 points in the last two minutes.

Olympiacos O goes cold

Olympiacos scored three consecutive three-pointers in the space of 80 seconds – two from Vassilis Spanoulis and one from Georgios Printezis – to establish a 7-point lead with three minutes left. But the Reds didn’t score again, missing its last five shots and committing three turnovers.

Sharpshooting from Zalgiris

Zalgiris had excellent shooting percentages, converting 21-of-33 two-pointers (63.6%), 10-of-24 triples (41.7%) and all 9 trips to the foul line.

Next round

Both teams are on the road at the start of the double round week, with Olympiacos visiting AX Armani Exchange Milan on Tuesday, while Zalgiris travels to Valencia Basket on Wednesday.

Joffrey Lauvergne - Zalgiris Kaunas - EB20
Friday, January 22, 2021
Euroleague.net
Referees: HIERREZUELO, DANIEL; BELOSEVIC, ILIJA; PATERNICO, CARMELO
Attendance: 0 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
Zalgiris Kaunas26191818
Olympiacos Piraeus20241619
End of Quarter1234
Zalgiris Kaunas26456381
Olympiacos Piraeus20446079
Zalgiris Kaunas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 WALKUP, THOMAS 23:46 5 1/2 1/2     4 4 3 1 2     1   8
4 LEKAVICIUS, LUKAS 16:14 4 2/3       1 1   1 2     1 1 3
10 HAYES, NIGEL 27:03 7 2/4 1/5     3 3 2       1 2   3
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS 17:01 7   1/2 4/4   3 3 2   1       2 12
16 LUKOSIUNAS, KAROLIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 MILAKNIS, ARTURAS 20:42 11 1/3 3/5   1 1 2       1   3   7
23 GEBEN, MARTINAS 4:51 2 1/1     1 1 2 1             5
24 RUBIT, AUGUSTINE 19:24 10 4/5   2/2 1 4 5 1   2     4 1 10
31 JOKUBAITIS, ROKAS 16:45 8 1/2 2/2     2 2 2   1     1   9
40 GRIGONIS, MARIUS 30:21 6 0/1 2/8     2 2 7 3 3     2 6 12
77 LAUVERGNE, JOFFREY 23:53 21 9/12   3/3 5 2 7 3   3   1 3 6 27
Team           1 1 2     1         1
Totals 200:00 81 21/33 10/24 9/9 9 24 33 21 5 15 1 2 17 16 97
        63.6% 41.7% 100%
Head coach: SCHILLER, MARTIN
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Olympiacos Piraeus
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 NIKOLAIDIS, ALEXANDROS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2 HARRISON, AARON 14:27 8 1/3 1/5 3/3 1 3 4 2     1 1 1 2 9
4 CHARALAMPOPOULOS, VASILIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
7 SPANOULIS, VASSILIS 14:58 9 0/1 3/7 0/1   1 1 1   1     1 2 5
11 SLOUKAS, KOSTAS 29:56 16 0/1 4/7 4/4   2 2 6 1 6     2 2 15
12 MARTIN, HASSAN 15:37 4 2/5       1 1 1           1 4
14 VEZENKOV, SASHA 24:54 11 4/4 1/3   1 6 7 1     1   1 1 18
15 PRINTEZIS, GEORGIOS 25:06 16 5/6 2/4 0/1       1 2 1       1 15
17 JEAN-CHARLES, LIVIO 22:05 5 2/4 0/1 1/1 2   2   1 1     3 3 4
22 JENKINS, CHARLES 13:29 3   1/2                   3   -1
32 ELLIS, OCTAVIUS 9:39 2 1/1                     3   -1
77 MCKISSIC, SHAQUIELLE 29:49 5 1/4 0/2 3/4 1 3 4 4 1 1     2 5 10
Team           4 1 5     3         2
Totals 200:00 79 16/29 12/31 11/14 9 17 26 16 5 13 2 1 16 17 80
        55.2% 38.7% 78.6%
Head coach: BARTZOKAS, GEORGIOS

Head Coaches

SCHILLER, MARTIN
Zalgiris Kaunas

“I thought the guy were really focused. The momentum was clearly on their side, but with three and half minutes to go we were still focused. It’s only seven points, so you’ve got to keep your focus possession by possession, and then we got a little bit lucky but that’s part of the game, the guys deserved to get lucky and I though the steal by Walkup was pretty big down the stretch, and the athletic play by Marius Grigonis was pretty big too. The guys adjusted in the second half something that was hurting us a lot in the first half, so I congratulate them. Those shots by Sloukas are tough, and then Spanoulis comes to play. He’s a legend – plays and actions are called after him – but we did a great job and I’m happy for the guys.”

“The biggest key was having a better defensive second half, keeping the opponent to 35 points. And then our focus and character realising there was still a lot of basketball to play in the last three minutes.”

BARTZOKAS, GEORGIOS
Olympiacos Piraeus
“It was a bad loss for us, especially with how we played in the second half. We were patient and found a lot of open looks, we had a 7-point difference in the last two minutes and then we did whatever we could to lose the game. We missed a layup under the basket, and immediately Zalgiris hit on transition. And of course we lost the last possession and they scored a buzzer beater. So it was completely our mistake. We had all the experienced players inside the line-up to handle the situation, but unfortunately for us Zalgiris won the game and I would like to congratulate them.”

Players

LAUVERGNE, JOFFREY
Zalgiris Kaunas
“I don’t know, we just kept fighting very hard and believing in our chance. Things went well at the end and I think we can be very proud. We found a way to play better defense in the second half, we still made some mistakes for sure, but we won! It was amazing when Thomas scored, we live for this kind of game. It’s an amazing feeling.”
WALKUP, THOMAS
Zalgiris Kaunas
“[On the game-winning play] We had a foul to give, and if you’re going to take a foul at least try to steal the ball. The refs were letting us play our game, I got my hand on the ball, I took a peek at the clock to see how much time we had left, so I had plenty of time and just tried to get up on the rim. In my three years here we’ve been down late, up late, coming back from large deficits, so we’ve been in every situation possible. We’re an experienced team and we did a great job of showing that tonight.”
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