Reds belt Fener in Turkey
Olympiakos clinched a quarterfinal playoffs spot and became the Top 16 Group H champion by downing Fenerbahce 65-80 in Turkey on Thursday night. A day prior, Panathinaikos suffered a shock loss at home to Lietuvos Rytas 67-68
Olympiakos' win in Turkey saw them improve their record to 4-1, in the process overturning their 14-point loss against Fener in Top 16 Game 1.
The reds thus secured home court advantage in the upcoming quarterfinal playoffs. Fener dropped to 3-2 and faces a do-or-die battle against Valencia in Spain next week. Fener will advance to the playoffs if it wins or if it loses by less than two points.
Zoran Erceg paced the winners with 21 points. Rasho Nesterovic and Loukas Mavrokefalidis each added 16, Vassilis Spanoulis had 12 but Theo Papaloukas became the game hero by sinking the tie-break winning three-pointer at the buzzer.
An outstanding Mavrokefalidis and Nesterovic fuelled a 6-25 run that allowed Olympiakos to get the lead for good, 55-64. Spanoulis, Nesterovic and a buzzer-beating triple off the glass by Papaloukas allowed the Reds to get back home as the Group H champion.
The Reds head coach Dusan Ivkovic told reporters after the match that his side responded to his changes.
"It was a very hard game for both teams. The rhythm of the game was very high. We lost control in the beginning of the second half. Then I talked to my players in the timeout and told them 'If you want to win this game, you have to fight'.Then they realised that they can win if they keep on fighting in the last quarter. This is what it is. We are happy to win here."
Panathinaikos go down at home
Lietuvos Rytas stunned Panathinaikos 67-68 on Wednesday at the Athens Olympic Indoor Hall to infuse plenty of drama into Group E.
Khalid El-Amin calmly sank a pair of game-winning free throws with 3.1 seconds remaining and Brad Newley scored seven crucial points among his team-high 16 in the closing minutes as the Lithuanian champs matched the Greek champs atop the group at 3-2.
Rytas hosts Caja Laboral next week in the Euroleague Game of the Week, while Panathinaikos visits Unicaja.
Panathinaikos led by eight early in the third quarter, but was never able to put the visitors away. Rytas tied the score three times in the fourth quarter before pulling ahead.
Dimitris Diamantidis lifted Panathinaikos to a 1-point lead with 2 free throws with 7.7 seconds left, but El-Amin drew a foul and won the game from the opposite foul line.
El-Amin finished with 11 points and 4 assists and Milko Bjelica scored 10 for the winners, who out-rebounded the hosts 28-41 - including 16 offensive rebounds.
Mike Batiste paced Panathinaikos with 11 points, Drew Nicholas scored 10 and Diamantidis finished with 8 points and 7 assists in defeat.
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