Olympiacos, Printezis march past Cedevita in opener
Olympiacos Piraeus opened the 2015-16 Turkish Airlines Euroleague season with a 76-61 victory over Cedevita Zagreb as the Greek powerhouse scored the final 11 points of the third quarter to break the game wide open. Georgios Printezis paced the team with 20 points and 8 rebounds, while Patric Young collected 16 points, 6 rebounds and 4 blocks. Matt Lojeski picked up 14 points and 10 rebounds, Vangelis Mantzaris added 11 points and Vasilis Spanoulis was held to 5 points on 1-of-10 shooting to go with 7 assists. Jacob Pullen led Cedevita with 18 points while Tomislav Zubcic had 16 points and 6 rebounds and Miro Bilan had 10 points in the losing effort.
First quarter: 16-year-old Musa scores Cedevita’s first points of season
Olympiacos’ starting five had Spanoulis, Mantzaris, Printezis, Ioannis Papapetrou and Young. The Cedevita starting line-up featured two teenagers in 19-year-old power forward Marko Arapovic and 16-year-old guard Dzanan Musa alongside James White, Bilan and Nemanja Gordovic. And it was Musa scoring the first points of the Euroleague season for Cedevita with free throws. A strong attack in the lane by Printezis opened the scoring for Olympiacos. Young followed with a steal of a Musa pass and threw down a dunk before a score in traffic to make it 6-2. Bilan made Cedevita’s first basket after some good footwork around the basket and a Musa jumper had the guests within 8-6. Young’s third basket - a reverse lay-up - pushed the lead to 10-6. The game was tied again at 12-12 after Zubcic and Bilan scored and two White free throws. Olympiacos opened the first six-point lead after two Spanoulis free throws and a three-ball from the veteran to go up 19-13. Cedevita stormed back with seven straight points, led by Pullen, who nailed a three-pointer and fed Luka Babic for a 19-20 lead. The lead changed hands a third time on a driving layup by Papapetrou to make it 21-20, which was also the score after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Young has 5 points and block in final minute for Olympiacos
Fran Pilepic gave Cedevita the lead again with two foul shots to start the second quarter before Printezis and Bilan traded blows at either end of the court. Olympiacos began coming up with defensive stops as Printezis and Lojeski combined for three free throws for a 26-24 lead. Dimitrios Agravanis and D.J. Strawberry both blocked shots from Luka Zoric with the second defensive play ending in a fast break layup from Printezis. And Cedevita needed a time-out after Mantzaris’s three-pointer for a 31-24 cushion. Bilan snapped a four-minute scoreless streak with a right hook and then fed Zubcic for an inside basket to cut the gap to three points. Zubcic and Bilan both added inside scores for a 33-32 deficit - and an Olympiacos time-out. Zubcic came out of the time-out with a three-pointer for a 33-35 lead. But Young took over for Olympiacos with a dunk off an offensive rebound and another dunk after an assist from Spanoulis. Young also blocked a shot by Pullen and Young’s free throw gave the hosts a 38-35 lead at intermission.
Third quarter: Olympiacos close quarter with 14-1 run over final 5:33
Pullen started the second half and the move paid off nicely as the Cedevita guard opened the third quarter with a three-pointer. A White jumper in the lane gave the Croatian side the lead 38-40. Young converted a three-point play to get Olympiacos back ahead 41-40. Pullen answered with another three-pointer and White and Zubcic knocked down jumpers for a 43-47 gap with 5:33 minutes left in the quarter. Olympiacos came out of a time-out with Mantzaris hitting a three-pointer to start a run. Zubcic split two free throws to make it 46-48 for Cedevita’s final scoring of the quarter at the 4:55 minute mark. Printezis and Agravanis both hit driving layups and Lojeski nailed a three-pointer to complete an 11-0 surge to end the quarter with a 57-48 lead.
Fourth quarter: Too much Lojeski, Printezis seal win
Lojeski continued his hot streak with a three-pointer to start the fourth. Pullen finally got Cedevita on the scoring board again with a tough layup, snapping a 7:05 minutes drought in which Olympiacos scored 14 straight points. Lojeski nailed another trey but Pullen was right there to hit from long range to keep it a 10-point game, 63-53. Pullen came up with another tough finish and then two free throws but the margin was still 10 points at 69-59 with just more than three minutes to play. And Olympiacos ran away in the end as both Lojeski and Printzeis put back offensive rebounds and Mantzaris nailed a three-pointer to push the advantage to 76-59. White’s alley-oop to stop the run was too little, too late.
Thursday, October 15, 2015