Printezis leads Olympiacos to convincing home win
Olympiacos Piraeus improved its playoffs options in Top 16 Group F by downing Zalgiris Kaunas 74-59 at home on Friday. Olympiacos improved to 5-6 while Zalgiris dropped to 2-9 and is mathematically out of chances to make the playoffs. Georgios Printezis led the winners with 17 points. Kostas Papanikolaou added 11 while Othello Hunter pulled down 11 rebounds for Olympiacos. Ian Vougioukas had 14 points for Zalgiris while Paulius Jankunas added 12. Printezis and Vassilis Spanoulis shined early to give Olympiacos a 14-8 lead but a 0-7 run that Brock Motum capped with a reverse layup gave Zalgiris a 14-15 lead after 10 minutes. Daniel Hackett rescued the Reds early in the second quarter and got plenty of help from Papanikolaou and Printezis to give Olympiacos a 39-30 lead at halftime. Back-to-back three-pointers by Ioannis Papapetrou and Printezis broke the game open, 53-35, midway through the third quarter. Olympiacos kept a 58-41 lead after 30 minutes on a buzzer-beating layup by Dimitrios Agravanis and kept a safe margin throughout the fourth quarter to seal a well-deserved win all before the final buzzer.
First quarter: Zalgiris shakes off slow start
Printezis got Olympiacos going with a layup and improved Renaldas Seibutis's five-meter jumper with an off-balance layup-plus-free throw for a 5-2 lead. The guests struggled to find the way to the basket and entered the foul penalty in the games third minute . Vassilis Spanoulis took over with a driving layup, Vougioukas and Nikola Milutinov traded free throws and Edgaras Ulanovas kept the guests within 9-6. Milutinov dunked and Spanoulis matched Vougioukas's foul shots with another driving basket, good for a 13-8 Olympiacos lead. Printezis split foul shots before a three-pointer by Kaspars Vecvagars got Zalgiris within 14-11. As Olympiacos started to miss shots around the basket, a mid-range jumper by Jankunas brought the guests even closer, 14-13. A reverse layup by Brock Botum capped a 0-7 run and gave Zalgiris its first lead, 14-15, at the end of the first quarter.
Second quarter: Olympiacos uses late run to take off
Hackett hit free throws to open the second quarter and punished the guests' zone defense with a bomb from downtown, good for a 19-15 Olympiacos lead. D.J. Strawberry took over with a fastbreak layup that Vougioukas matched with free throws. Olivier Hanlan shined with a big driving basket for Zalgiris that Strawberry bettered with a bomb from downtown. Jerome Randle hit free throws and Jankunas buried his trademark mid-range jumper to make Olympiacos call timeout at 24-23. Milutinov made free throws and Randle split his before an inside basket by Papanikolaou restored a 28-24 Olympiacos lead. Marty Pocius, Papanikolaou and Ulanovas did not miss from the foul line and a dunk by Hakim Warrick gave the Reds some fresh air at 32-28. Papanikolaou shined with a fastbreak reverse layup but Vougioukas kept Zalgiris within 34-30. Papanikolaou sank a corner triple before a layup by Printezis boosted Olympiacos's lead to 39-30 at halftime.
Third quarter: Olympiacos improves defense, extends lead
Spanoulis banked in a close shot immediately after the break and Papanikolaou added a tip-in to give Olympiacos a 43-30 margin. Jankunas nailed a mid-range jumper that Printezis erased with a jump hook. Vangelis Mantzaris buried a one-handed jumper in the lane, forcing Zalgiris to call timeout at 47-32. Jankunas kept pacing the guests with free throws and Vougioukas kept his team within 47-35. Papapetrou struck from downtown and Printezis also hit one from beyond the arc to break the game open, 53-35. Vougioukas scored in the low post but Milutinov kept Olympiacos way ahead, 56-37. Motum tried to change things for Zalgiris with a fastbreak layup and Martynas Sajus added a tip-in for the guests, but a buzzer-beating layup by Agravanis restored a 58-41 Olympiacos margin after 30 minutes.
Fourth quarter: Reds seal outcome early
Hackett hit a stop-and-pop jumper early in the fourth quarter and soon added a driving layup that made Zalgiris call timeout at 62-43. Jankunas took over with an acrobatic basket and a jump hook by Vougioukas kept Zalgiris within 62-45. A layup by Jankunas forced Olympiacos to stop the game at 62-47. Printezis stepped up for Olympiacos with a three-pointer and Darius Johnson-Odom bettered Hanlan's driving basket with his own shot from downtown that sealed the outcome, 68-49, with under 6 minutes left. Motum joined the three-point shootout and free throws by Lukas Lekavicius brought Zalgiris a bit closer, 68-54. Spanoulis banked in a driving shot and Johnson-Odom provided a highlight with a huge block on Lekavicius. By the time Printezis hit free throws, everything was said and done, as Olympiacos had cruised to a well-deserved home win.
Friday, March 18, 2016