Bramos leads Panathinaikos to tough road win
Michael Bramos sank 7 three-pointers, including three in the final four minutes to lift Panathinaikos Athens to a thrilling 69-71 win over Mapooro Cantu in Desio, Italy on Friday night. The victory means Panathinaikos is now 4-3 and tied for second place tie in Group A standings, while Cantu drops to 2-5 in a share of fifth place with Union Olimpija. In a tight contest, neither team had a lead larger than 6 points at any point in the game. Cantu led 66-60 with three minutes to go, but Bramos and Dimitris Diamantidis responded with back to back triples, before Bramos nailed his final three-pointer with 50 seconds remaining to give the visitors victory. Bramos finished with a career-high 21 points on 7-for-9 three-point shooting along with 9 rebounds to lead Panathinaikos. The Greens, which were missing Sofoklis Schortsanitis and Andy Panko, also got 15 points plus 7 assists from Dimitris Diamantidis, while Marcus Banks scored 9. Alex Tyus scored 18 for Cantu and Jonathan Tabu had 17 points and 8 assists. Maarten Leunen chipped in with 11 and Pietro Aradori scored 10 in defeat.
First quarter: Maciulis and Bramos give Greens a slim lead
Diamantidis sank a triple on his first touch of the game, but Aradori responded with a three over Diamantidis before Leunen also drilled a shot from downtown and Marco Cusin made a tip-in for an 8-3 lead. However, layups from Roko Ukic, Diamantidis and a couple from Jonas Maciulis quickly got Panathinaikos back in front, 10-12. Cantu briefly regained the lead through a Leunen three-pointer, but Derwin Kitchen scored inside and Bramos made his first triple to give the Greens a 15-19 lead after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Electrifying Tyus lifts Cantu
Cantu opened the second quarter with a jumper from Jonathan Tabu before Tyus tied the game from inside the paint. On the other end, Bramos and Diamantidis sank back-to-back triples and the visitors took a 21-25 advantage. After a timeout, Tabu responded with a triple to make sure the hosts stayed within a single possession. Tyus started to get hot as he twice traded layups with Marcus Banks, then had a fastbreak slam-dunk and finally got a lucky bounce on a hook shot to put Cantu up 32-30. Tyus was also a significant defensive presence in the paint, causing a couple of turnovers and blocking 2 shots, which electrified the crowd. Panathinaikos still managed to get back in front due to a savvy steal from Banks and a layup from Ukic, while in the final seconds a layup from Jeff Brooks sent teams into halftime tied at 34-34.
Third quarter: Six lead changes leave things close
Bramos opened the third quarter with a triple, but Tabu hit back-to-back shots from downtown on the way to 8 consecutive points for a 42-37 advantage. Panathinaikos wasted no time in responding and retaking the lead as Kostas Tsartsaris made a basket-plus-foul and Ukic made a three-pointer. The seesaw battle continued with a long jumper from Brooks and a fastbreak layup from Aradori for 47-45. After Diamantidis and Banks were perfect from the foul line, Aradori nailed a triple. Stephan Lasme scored inside and Bramos beat the buzzer with a three-pointer to give Panathinaikos 50-54 lead going into the final 10 minutes.
Fourth quarter: Bramos’s shooting brings the Greens victory
Aradori immediately cut the lead with a floater as Cantu held the visitors scoreless for more than five minutes, including forcing turnovers on Panathinaikos’s first four possessions in the quarter. Tabu tied the game with a fastbreak layup, Leunen sank a triple and Tyus capped a 9-0 Cantu run with a monster dunk. Banks ended the visitors’ drought with a put-back-plus-foul and Bramos sank a triple that cut the deficit to 61-60. With less than four minutes remaining, Tyus made a jump-hook and Manuchar Markoishvili scored from downtown to make it a 6-point margin, but Bramos and Diamantidis answered with back-to-back triples to tie the score at 66-66. Diamantidis then found Lasme for an uncontested dunk and a 2-point lead. Tyus made a pair of free throws for anther tie. However, Bramos hit his seventh three-pointer for 68-71, and it turned out to be the decisive basket. In the remaining 50 seconds, Tabu split a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 2, and after Cantu successfully defended the next Panathinaikos possession, Tabu missed a potential game-tying jumper as time expired.
Friday, November 23, 2012