Olympiacos downed Fenerbahce Ulker 65-80
In an intense battle between Turkish Airlines Euroleague giants, Olympiacos clinched a Quarterfinal Playoffs spot and became the Top 16 Group H champion by downing Fenerbahce Ulker 65-80 in Istanbul, Turkey on Thursday night. Olympiacos improved to 4-1 and overcame its 14-point loss against Fener in Top 16 Game 1 to win Group H, getting the home court advantage in the upcoming Quarterfinal Playoffs. Fener dropped to 3-2 and faces a do-or-die battle against Power Electronics in Valencia, Spain next week. Fener will advance to the playoffs if it wins or if it loses by up to 2 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. Roko Ukic led Fener with 14 points. Tarence Kinsey added 12 for the hosts, that led 49-37 midway through the third quarter. An outstanding Mavrokefalidis and Nesterovic fueled a 6-25 run that allowed Olympiacos 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.
Erceg got Olympiacos going with a three-pointer, as Olympiacos tried to open the floor with him and Mavrokefalidis in its starting five. Ukic scored in penetration but Vassilis Spanoulis bettered that with a layup-plus-foul for a 2-6 Olympiacos lead. Kinsey nailed a stop-and-pop jumper and soon added a fast break layup to tie it at 6-6. Erceg struck again from downtown and Mavrokefalidis scored down low to restore a 6-11 Olympiacos edge. Fenerbahce improved its defense to deny the pick-and-pop in the high post but Mavrokefalidis hit a close shot in the low post. Darjus Lavrinovic made free throws that Andreas Glyniakadis matched with a layup but a three-pointer by Sarunas Jasikevicius got Fener within 11-15. Marko Tomas joined the three-point shootout but Erceg buried his third triple to give the Reds some fresh air, 14-18. Spanoulis nailed a five-meter shot that Emir Preldzic matched off a timeout. Free throws by Tomas brought the hosts within 18-20 after 10 minutes.
Jasikevicius hit foul shots early in the second quarter but Spanoulis took over again with an off-balance three-point play. Preldzic sent the crowd to their feet with a big triple but a put-back dunk by Nesterovic kept Olympiacos ahead, 23-25. Oguz Savas sank a four-meter jumper, as Fener tried to run its offense through Ukic, back on the floor and now guarded by Jamon Gordon. Tomas split free throws but Mavrokefalidis soon put Olympiacos back ahead, 26-27. Savas found space for an easy layup, as Olympiacos tried to play more aggressive with Michalis Pelekanos at small forward. Nesterovic kept pacing the Reds with a put-back basket and soon silenced the crowd with a dunk. Fener lacked ball circulation so the hosts opted to attack the basket. Ukic made free throws and added an acrobatic layup in transition to put Fener back ahead, 32-31. Lavrinovic and Milos Teodosic traded free throws off an Olympiacos timeout but a floating layup shot by Ukic gave the hosts a 36-33 edge. A foul shot by Nesterovic fixed the halftime score at 36-34.
Both teams struggled to score early in the second half until Ukic banked in a close shot in transition. Erceg answered from downtown but a back-to-back jumpers by Kinsey gave Fener a 42-37 lead. Olympiacos could not find the way to the basket and a three-pointer by Lavrinovic forced the Reds to call timeout at 45-37. Kinsey stayed on fire with a fast break layup, as the Reds had been scoreless for more than 4 minutes already and had entered the foul bonus. A two-handed dunk by Kaya Peker capped an 11-0 run that boosted the hosts' margin to 49-37. Erceg tried to change things with free throws and Papaloukas added his trademark left-handed layup but Kinsey scored in transition for a 51-41 Fener lead. Mavrokefalidis stepped up with back-to-back baskets that made Fener call timeout at 51-45. Jasikevicius and Kinsey traded jumpers but a layup by Mavrokefalidis got the Reds even closer, 53-49. Onan nailed a floating jumper but a put-back basket by Mavrokefalidis and a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Erceg brought Olympiacos as close as 55-54 after 30 minutes.
Mavrokefalidis stayed on fire with a close jumper in the lane and soon banked in a running shot to give his team a 55-58 edge early in the fourth quarter. Fenerbahce kept struggling to find open shots and Nesterovic scored around the basket to make it a five-point game, 55-60. Fenerbahce had been scoreless for more than 4 minutes and Papaloukas banked in a four-meter shot that forced the hosts to call timeout at 55-62. A reverse layup by Nesterovic capped a 0-13 Olympiacos run, as Ukic tried to change things with a quick basket. Erceg took over with a long two-pointer that Sean May erased with a dunk. Spanoulis banked in an acrobatic shot but Tomas answered from downtown to give Fener some hope, 62-68, with 3 minutes left. Papaloukas scored in penetration and a dunk by Nesterovic sealed the outcome, 62-72. Both teams now fought for points differential, as Spanoulis and Nesterovic gave the Reds a 65-77 and Olympiacos regained possession with 31 seconds left. Erceg missed from downtown but a key offensive rebound by Kostas Papanikolaou allowed Papaloukas to beat the buzzer with a circus three-pointer off the glass, enough for Olympiacos to become the Top 16 Group H champion!
Thursday, February 24, 2011