Panionios On Telecoms defeated Pamesa Valencia 70-59 at the end of an intense opening leg of their ULEB Cup Last 32 series on Tuesday in Athens, Greece. Both teams have reasons to be optimistic: Panionios dominated early with a 20-0 run the bridged the first two periods and led by as many as 19 points, but lost its edge later on. Meanwhile Pamesa struggled, but clawed its way back, leaving it a real chance to get to the Last 16 when it hosts the second leg next Tuesday. Pamesa led in the first few minutes, but Panionios caught fire with a 20-point charge as everyone on the home team seemed to have a hot hand. However Pamesa quickly regrouped and was soon within single figures, though Alexandar Capin made it 38-24 by halftime. The lead would close to 7 in the fourth quarter, but Panionios held on for a respectable advantage heading into the second leg. Ivan Zoroski led Panionios with 15 points, Brad Newley and Yannis Giannoulis added 12 points apiece and Ioannis Kalampokis had 10 for the hosts, who won the battle on the glass 36-27. Shammond Williams scored 18, Ruben Douglas 17 and Fred House 10 for Pamesa in defeat.
Pamesa came out firing and burst in front 2-6 on triples by Williams and Douglas. Veteran center Giannoulis responded for Panionios with consecutive baskets inside and passionate defense. After the hosts surged into the lead at 11-8, Capin and Newley came up big from downtown and Kalampokis added a fadeaway jumper to boost the margin to 19-8. Pamesa needed a timeout after four scoreless minutes, but the momentum did not shift. Instead, Zoroski knocked down a wild triple to beat the first-quarter buzzer with Panionios fully in charge at 24-8. Kalampokis opened the second quarter with a driving basket to which Lonny Baxter added a free throw to cap an impressive 20-0 Panionios run with the scoreboard showing a 27-8 advantage. Pamesa was in disarray until House buried a triple that awakened his teammates. The visitors then fed Ruben Garces in the paint and he obliged with scored 5 points that trimmed the difference to 27-16. Antonas Kavaliauskas answered with a tip-in for Panionios, but House bettered that with a flying layup and free throws to make it 29-20. Pamesa was back in the game, although Panionios upped the ante with another triple by Capin at 36-20. Even when Douglas reloaded his gun for a late corner triple, Panionios held a 38-24 lead at intermission.
Douglas turned it on big way in the second half, as he first dished to House for a triple and then unleashed a three-pointer, allowing Valencia to claw its way back to 42-32. Sweet-shooting Sakota gunned from beyond the arc to reclaim a double-digit lead, yet Panionios was out of rhythm offensively. Moreover, the hosts were unable to control the boards and as a result, Pamesa managed, with Williams as its go-to-guy, to cut the lead to 50-43 with a period left to play. Williams opened the final period in style with a triple, but Kalampokis responded with a gutsy drive and 2 free throws to make it 54-46. Then, Zoroski and Douglas took over, exchanging baskets. Douglas fired in a triple, Zoroski followed with 5 points and Douglas answered back with another three-pointer to cut the deficit to 59-52. However, the hosts did not lose their composure and remained in the driver’s seat. With the clock ticking down and the score at 65-57, Sakota found Newley for a decisive triple that brought the home crowd to its feet. Williams hit a long jumper, as Pamesa was trying now to trim the lead as much as possible, yet a charging foul by Douglas and 2 free throws by Giannoulis allowed Panionios to set the final score at 70-59.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008