Olympiacos became the last Euroleague team to win its first game on Thursday when it prevailed on the road at Adecco Asvel by 77-92 in Group C. The Reds trailed in the second quarter but rallied early n the second half to take the lead and never let it go. Despite a great three-point shooting percentage, 14 of 28, Asvel had most of its 11 turnovers in the third quarter to allow the Greeks a 0-14 run which proved lethal. The win improves Olympiacos' record to 1-5 while Asvel drops to 2-4. The winners had an impressive performance by Panagiotis Liadelis, who posted 25 points and pulled 8 boards. Ruben Wolkowyski added 17 points thanks to 4 of 8 triples, Giorgos Diamantopoulos bagged 16 and Boris Gorenc chipped in with 13. For Asvel, Harold Mrazek had an amazing night from the arc, making 7 of 8 triples to score 21 points. Robert Gulyas added 19 points and Shawnta Rogers nailed 10.
The first play of the game was symptomatic as it ended with the first triple for Asvel, but Goran Jurak replied soon for the Reds. Gulyas came up big, scoring the following 4 points of the hosts for a 7-6 lead. Both teams had tight man-to-man defenses but Diamantopoulos started to be active with a put-back from his second straight offensive rebound to put the Reds ahead 7-8. Another three by Rogers kept Asvel going for a 12-10, but a steal by Diamantopoulos sealed with a dunk tie it again, 12-12. That was the start of a 0-10 run for the guests that included points by Liadelis, Diamantopoulos from the free throw line, and Christos Harisis, ending in a 12-20 advantage. However, a pair of late triples by Rogers and Herve Toure from the side pulled the hosts within 18-21 after 10 minutes.
The second period started with another Olympiacos burst, as a Diamantopoulos three-point play and Jurak basket opened a 20-28 gap. But then Mrazek started nailing triples from the side, 23-28 to start. At that point, Harissis went to the bench with a big blow to the ribs that kept him down until halftime. An Asvel rally culminated with 2 more triples from Mrazek and Makan Dioumassi for a 31-30 lead. The Reds kept allowing open shots to a team that was hot from downtown as another triple, by Karim Souchu, made it 38-36. Now, however, big Ruben Wolkowyski respond from the 6.25 line for the first and last time Olympiacos three-pointer of the half, 38-36. Liadelis and Wolkowyski himself kept Olympiacos going while coach Dragan Sakota rested Diamantopoulos. But nothing could stop the French hosts as Mrazek nailed his third triple without a miss for a 45-38 scoreboard. Gorenc emerged to score the last basket of the first half for 45-42. Asvel had made 9 of 16 triples at the break, as Rogers had 10 points for his team, Liadelis 12 for the Reds.
The good news for Olympiacos after resumption wes that Harissis was back on court and, thanks to Wolkowyski, Liadelis and Gorenc, the guests jumped ahead again 47-50. But Asvel was far from surrendering as Sacha Giffa posted a triple from the corner and drew a foul for a four-point play and new local lead, 51-50. Wolkowyski was still on fire from the arc, and the last minutes belonged totally to Olympiacos, as Asvel tried to run too much in offense and kept adding turnovers. Those were used by the Reds to run the fastbreak again and again, piling up an 0-14 run that featured a basket-plus-foul by Gorenc and a put-back by Dimitrios Sklavos for a 53-67 Reds lead after 30 minutes.
With this 14-point run, Olympiacos played more comfortably in the last period, but Asvel tried hard until the end, mainly thanks to the accuracy from the arc of one man: Mrazek. He nailed his first triple of the last period, right after Derak Hood had fouled out, for a 59-73 scoreboard. Wolkowyski replied with another triple, but a Gulyas layup and another Mrazek triple cut the deficit down to 10 points, 66-76. Soon, Gulyas drew another foul to visit the line and sink both attempts to make it 68-76. But that was as close as Asvel would get. Jurak again, and most of all Liadelis, kept the Greeks going even though Mrazek's sixth triple of the night without a miss set the crowd on fire. Free throws by Liadelis put the Reds away at 71-84 and Souchu missed the triple in the following play with one minute and 50 seconds to go. Its first win in the Euroleague was already safe for Olympiacos.
Thursday, December 11, 2003