Gist stars as Panathinaikos roars at OAKA
James Gist scored a career-high 24 points in rallying Panathinaikos back from a 13-point deficit to an 80-72 victory in the club’s first home game at OAKA this season. The Greens scored 16 unanswered points in a run that bridged the third and fourth quarters to take control and never trailed again. Rytas refused to lie down and after falling behind by 10 got within 3 in the closing minute, but Panathinaikos was up to the challenge. The win improved Panathinaikos’s record to 3-3, while Rytas dropped its fifth straight to fall to 1-5 in Group D. Gist also tallied 5 of his team’s 15 steals and 3 blocks too. Jonas Maciulis added 16 points, including the go-ahead slam late in the third-quarter, for the Greens. Stevan Jelovac paced Rytas with 19 points in 14 minutes before fouling out. Martynas Gecevicius nailed 5 threes en route to 17 points and Renaldas Seibutis scored 15 in defeat.
First quarter: Defenses tell story early
Defense set the tone early – including Gist’s steal and missed dunk. Juan Palacios scored the game’s first points a little more than two minutes into the action. Loukas Mavrokefalides was the Green’s only scoring option early with 3 points over two possessions. A Ramel Curry jumper gave Panathinaikos its first lead, 5-4. The teams traded baskets with the lead switching hands on every score. While Maciulis fueled the hosts, Stevan Jelovac’s second basket in the paint made it 9-10 for Rytas midway through the quarter. A two-minute scoreless stretch followed before Gecevicius drilled a triple. Mike Batiste followed with a jumper, but Andreas Glyniadakis matched him. Dimitris Diamantidis stripped former teammate Milenko Tepic in the backcourt. Tepic used an unsportsmanlike foul to stop him. After 2 free throws and Nikos Pappas basket that was credited after goal-tending, the Greens took the lead. Tepic tried to make amends with a three-pointer for a 16-18 Rytas edge through 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Rytas’s triples create double-digit lead
Tepic added another triple before Gecevicius hit his second to put the visitors up 8. Palacios rejected Antonis Fotsis from behind before a pair of Seibutis jumpers made it a 13-0 run. Gist rose high to attempt a dunk, which resulted in a foul and Panathinaikos’s first point in nearly five minutes. The Greens’ offensive woes continued despite 2 free throws from Mavrokefalides’s hands. A Jelovac triple made it 19-31, but the big man soon took a seat with 4 fouls. Maciulis finally scored Panathinaikos’s first basket of the quarter… And then its second. Gist added a tip-in to bring the hosts within 6. Seibutis kissed a shot high off the glass before coming up with a steal, drawing a foul and restoring a double-digit lead. Gecevicius drained a deep three to match the visitors’ biggest lead of the half, 25-38, at the break.
Third quarter: Gist’s heroics delight OAKA
The hosts got an ideal start to the second half with back-to-back threes from Diamantidis and Gist. Palacios answered with a basket on the offensive glass to quiet OAKA a bit. However the arena was singing again when a second Gist three made it 34-40. Omar Cook drained a pull-up triple over Pappas, but a red-hot Gist scored inside to make it 36-43. Seibutis connected from downtown to restore a double-digit Rytas lead again. Gist remained hot with free throws and a two-handed slam. Roko Ukic fed Gist for an alley-oop slam and the forward stepped up with a block on the other end that led to a Fotsis triple, extending a 9-0 run. Rytas’s offensive woes continued and a pair of turnovers led to a Maciulis slam and a long Fotsis three to make it 50-46 at the end of the quarter.
Fourth quarter: Greens use home-court advantage to pull away
Batiste used a spin move to get to the hoop and cap a 16-0 Panathinaikos charge. Gecevicius drained a three and Jelovac split free throws to bring the visitors back within 2. Ukic countered with a three. Gecevicius was fouled firing up a three and made 2 of the resulting free throws. After an Ukic floater dropped in, Jelovac muscled his way inside for a key basket, 57-54. Then Seibutis cut the difference to 1 from the line. Curry made it 59-56 with five minutes remaining. After the TV timeout, Jelovac hit a baseline jumper only to see Curry score again. Darius Songaila and Gist traded scores. Gist reached 20 points with a steal and slam. After Jelovac missed a three that would have tie it, Diamantidis fed Gist for a wild alley-oop slam and a 5-point lead. Rytas scored inside, but Maciulis helped protect the Greens’ lead with a pair of free throws with 1:46 remaining to make it 69-64. Diamantidis just about iced the game with a three and just in case, Maciulis sank a baseline jumper for a game-sealing 10-point lead. Jelovac hit a three with 44 seconds left as Rytas tried the foul game to get back. Soon Jelovac scored inside and was fouled. Though he missed the resulting free throw, the ball eventually would up with Gecevicius, whose three from the corner made it 75-72. However Diamantidis sank crucial free throws with 21.8 seconds to go and a Gist steal wrapped it up.
Thursday, November 21, 2013