Sofo, Vasileadis lead PAOK to key win
PAOK Thessaloniki stayed in the race to reach the Eurocup Last 32 in regular season Group E by downing Avtodor Saratov 104-99 at home on Wednesday. PAOK improved to 4-5 and will make it to the Last 32 if it beats already-eliminated Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius next week or if Besiktas Sompo Japan Istanbul loses against Zenit St Petersburg. Saratov dropped to 6-3 and will be second no matter what at the end of the regular season. Kostas Vasileiadis and Sofoklis Schortsanitis led the winners with 27 points apiece. Milenko Tepic added 16 while William Hatcher had 11 for PAOK. Paul Stoll led Avtodor with 21 points and 10 assists. Travis Peterson added 19 points, Jeff Brooks had 14, Artem Zabelin got 13 while Jeremy Chappell contributed 12 for the guests. Vasileadis hit 5-of-5 three-point shots to give PAOK a 35-21 lead after 10 minutes. He soon added another one to make it a 20-point game, 44-24, but Stoll and Chappell allowed Avtodor to get within 49-44 at halftime. Artem Zabelin completed the guests' comeback, 71-72, late in the third quarter, and Brooks gave the guests an 82-88 margin. Schortsanitis led a 10-0 run that put PAOK ahead for good, 92-88, and took over in crunch time to make sure his team grabbed a much-needed win.
Peterson needed just 7 seconds to strike from downtown. Schortsanitis hit a jump hook but free throws by Alan Makiev gave Avtodor a 2-5 lead. Vasileadis downed back-to-back three-pointers, igniting a 13-1 run which he capped with a running triple to make the guests call timeout at 15-6. Peterson hit one from beyond the arc, Schortsanitis answered with a power layup and Denys Lukashov kept Avtodor within 17-12. Vasileiadis nailed another three-pointer, and another one to make it a double-digit game, 23-12. Chappell stepped up with a layup which Evgeny Koleshnikov followed with a triple for a 24-17 Avtodor deficit. An unstoppable Vasileiadis scored again and Brooks answered to keep the guests within 27-21. Nikola Markovic shined with 3 consecutive layups and a jumper by Tepic gave PAOK a 35-21 lead after 10 minutes. Tepic banked in a triple early in the second quarter. Stoll and Apollon Tsochlas also struck from downtown and Vasilieadis added a seven-meter bomb for a 44-24 PAOK lead. Zabelin scored down low and a triple by Chappell gave Avtodor hope at 44-30. Artem Klimenko shined with a layup-plus-foul and Koleshnikov added a fast break layup but Schortsanitis and Tepic kept PAOK way ahead, 49-37. Stoll hit a triple and Brooks added consecutive layups to bring Avtodor back in the game, 49-44, at halftime.
Schortsanitis scored down low immediately after the break and a three-pointer by Hatcher restored a 54-44 PAOK lead. Brooks and Hatcher traded triples and Tepic copied them soon after that for a 60-49 PAOK margin. Stoll hit a three-pointer which Zabelin followed with a fast break layup to keep Avtodor within 60-54. Markovic scored off a steal but Zabelin and Stoll made PAOK call timeout at 62-58. Georgios Dedas and Chappell traded three-pointers and free throws by Hatcher gave PAOK a 67-61 lead. Peterson scored in transition and hit a catch-and-shoot triple for a 67-66 Avtodor deficit. Schortsanitis hit a jump hook and a three-pointer by Chappell tied it at 69-69. Schortsanitis and Vasileadis made free throws but Zabelin completed the guests' comeback, 73-74. A triple by Hatcher put PAOK back ahead, 76-74, after 30 minutes. Schortsanitis split free throws and Tepic scored again but Peterson, Stoll and Zabelin combined for all points in a 0-10 Avtodor run that made PAOK stop the game at 79-83. Stoll struck again from downtown and free throws by Brooks made it a six-point game, 82-88. Tsochlas nailed a key triple, igniting a 10-0 PAOK run which Schortsanitis capped with foul shots for a 92-88 edge with 3 minutes left. Schortsanitis hit 4-of-4 free throws but a wild four-point play by Peterson kept Avtodor within 96-93. Tsochlas hit a jumper and Schortsanitis added a power layup that sealed the outcome, 100-93, with 40 seconds left. Avtodor never gave up but Vasileadis allowed PAOK to round a great night.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015