Olympiacos stops skid with big road win
Olympiacos Piraeus ended a five-game losing skid on the road on Friday by beating Buducnost VOLI Podgorica 89-76 and improving to 13-12 on the season in the process. The victory moved the Reds up to seventh place in the standings as their playoff aspirations remain alive and kicking. Buducnost, on the other hand, lost its fifth in a row to drop to 6-19 on the season with the defeat. Olympiacos had five double-digit scorers, including an impressive display from Nikola Milutinov, who posted 15 points and 12 rebounds. Georgios Printezis led all scorers with 19 points while Axel Toupane added 13, Sasha Vezenkov and Nigel Williams-Goss 12 apiece. For Buducnost, Edwin Jackson and Flilip Barovic downed 13 points each while Norris Cole finished with 10 points and 5 assists. Olympiacos started strong and let the hosts lead only once, at 16-15 of the first quarter, and would eventually lead by a high of 24 points, 39-63, in the third quarter to win going away.
Olympiacos exploded out of the blocks and led 0-6 early. The Reds would continue their focused start with a three from Kostas Papanikolaou before extending their lead to 11 points at 4-15. Buducnost responded with a 12-0 run off a timeout to get back in the game and take its first lead at 16-15. Olympiacos finished strong though and at the end of that first quarter, it was 21-27. The visitors extended their lead to 21-34 to open the second behind 5 points from Vezenkov. Edwin Jackson landed a three followed by a mid-ranger jumper as Buducnost continued to chase Olympiacos. Vangelis Mantzaris drained a three to give Olympiacos a 33-42 lead midway through the second quarter. Milutinov was up to 10 points by then and kept adding pressure inside for the visitors who pulled into halftime with a lead of 17 points, 34-51. Olympiacos grew the difference early in the third quarter thanks to another five-point spurt by Vezenkov on a triple and free throws. The lead would grow to 24 in the middle of the quarter, 39-63, as Buducnost's hopes faded. Suad Sehovic scored 5 in a row for the hosts to reduce the deficit to 21 and the deficit would soon be whittled down to 16. But Olympiacos finished strong and would carry a 54-73 lead into the final quarter. The two sides exchanged scores to start the fourth but Olympiacos had done enough in the three previous periods to not have to worry. Buducnost did manage to get the lead down to 12 points with an 8-0 run late in the game, but time was running out and that's as close as it would get with the visitors winning 76-89 in the end.
The victory kept Olympiacos from matching its worst in-season losing streak this century in the EuroLeague, six defeats in a row back in 2004.
Power forward firepower
Sasha Vezenkov got his third start of the season and put up 12 points and 5 rebounds while his replacement at power forward, Printezis, scored 19.
Behind the arc
Two-time champion Vangelis Mantzaris landed a three-pointer in the second quarter which was his 200th in EuroLeague action during his career.
Buducnost missed Bitadze
Milutinov finished with 15 points and 12 boards as Buducnost missed their rising star, Goga Bitadze, to challenge him in the paint. Bitadze suffered an injury the night before the game and was ruled out after a game-time decision.
Olympiacos travel to Italy to face Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan in Round 26, while Buducnost goes to play KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain.
Friday, March 8, 2019