Olympiacos downs Nizhny in Top 16 finale
Olympiacos Piraeus finished Top 16 Group F with a 10-4 record by downing Nizhny Novgorod 77-70 at home on Friday. Olympiacos was already third in Group F regardless of the outcomes this week. Nizhny finished the Top 16 in eighth place with a 4-10 record due to its tie-break disadvantage with EA7 Emporio Armani Milan and Unicaja Malaga. Matt Lojeski led the winners with 17 points and 8 rebounds. Georgios Printezis added 12 points while Bryant Dunston and Oliver Lafayette each had 10 for Olympiacos. Rihards Kuksiks led Nizhny with 17 points. Trey Thompkins added 16 while Art Parakhouski scored 14 for the guests. Nizhny shook off a slow start and back-to-back baskets by Thompkins gave the guests a 13-15 edge. Lojeski and Lafayette fueled a 12-3 run which allowed Olympiacos to get a 25-18 margin after 10 minutes. A three-pointer by Lafayette made it a double-digit game, 32-21. Parakhouski and Thompkins tried to change things for Nizhny but a layup by Kostas Soukas fixed the halftime score at 40-30. Kuksiks and Thompkins took over after that break to get Nizhny as close as 50-47. A jumper by Kuksiks restored a 54-55 Nizhny lead late in the third quarter, but three-pointers by Printezis, Lojeski and Vangelis Mantzaris allowed Olympiacos to seal the outcome, 71-62, with over 2 minutes remaining.
First quarter: Olympiacos gets early lead
Mantzaris got Olympiacos going with a big basket in the low post and a layup by Georgios Printezis soon gave the Reds a 4-0 lead. Parakhouski scored down low and a driving basket by Kuksiks tied it at 4-4. Lojeski stepped up with a backdoor layup and erased Parakhouski's jump hook with a six-meter jumper. Parakhouski scored again and followed Thompkins's layup with a free throw that gave Nizhny its first lead, 10-11. Tremmell Darden hit a jumper from the elbow but back-to-back baskets by Thompkins kept the guests ahead, 13-15. Lojeski kept pacing Olympiacos with a layup and free throws by Vasileios Kavvadas put Olympiacos ahead, 17-15. Lafayette nailed a stop-and-pop jumper, Gal Mekel made foul shots for the visitors, but Lojeski restored a 21-17 Olympiacos margin. Darden had a big block on Semen Antonov and scored at the other end. A free throw by Mekel and a buzzer-beating basket by Lafayette fixed the score at 25-18 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Defense keeps Reds way ahead
Both teams struggled to score early in the second quarter until Thompkins stepped up with a three-pointer. Olympiacos went scoreless for almost 3 minutes until Dimitrios Agravanis rescued the Reds with consecutive layups. Lafayette struck from downtown to make it a double-digit game, 32-21. Dimitry Khvostov scored in penetration off a Nizhny timeout and a free throw by Parakhouski kept the guests within 32-24. Olympiacos improved its defense with Brent Petway and Dunston together on court but a jump hook by Maksim Krivosheev made it a six-point game, 34-28. Ioannis Papapetrou took over with an acrobatic layup which Thompkins erased with a six-meter jumper. Dunston followed an off-balance basket with free throws and Sloukas beat the buzzer with a driving layup that gave the Reds a 40-30 lead at halftime.
Third quarter: Kuksiks sparks Nizhny's rally
Antonov banked in a close jumper immediately after the break but so did Dunston to keep Olympiacos way ahead, 42-32. Antonov insisted with another layup and Parakhouski scored down low to bring Nizhny within 42-36. Lojeski struck from downtown but Kuksiks also hit one from beyond the arc and added a layup to keep the guests as close as 45-41. Dunston stepped up with a power layup and Petway added a catch-and-shoot triple to keep Olympiacos out of trouble, 50-41. Kuksiks and Thompkins nailed back-to-back three-pointers for a 50-47 Nizhny deficit. Mantzaris made free throws and a layup off a steal by Darden restored a 54-47 Olympiacos lead. Evgeny Baburin found his first points and a layup by Thompkins forced Olympiacos call timeout at 54-51. Mekel made free throws and a jumper by Kuksiks completed the guests' comeback, 54-55. Papapetrou scored in penetration but a free throw by Mekel tied it at 56-56 after 30 minutes.
Fourth quarter: Olympiacos bounces back to win
Baburin swished a mid-range jumper early in the fourth quarter. Dunston split free throws and a three-pointer by Printezis put Olympiacos back ahead, 60-58. Lojeski banked in a close shot, making Nizhny call timeout at 62-58 with less than 7 minutes left. Lojeski buried a big triple, as the guests kept struggling to find the way to the basket, picking up many turnovers. Parakhouski split free throws but he didn't find much help around, as Olympiacos dominated the game with strong defense. Printezis also split attempts from the foul line and a three-point play by Parakhouski brought Nizhny a bit closer, 66-62, with 3 minutes left. Mantzaris nailed a big triple and free throws by Dunston and Printezis sealed the outcome, 71-62, as Nizhny kept trying but never recovered.
Friday, April 10, 2015