When it comes to talking about Promitheas Patras, there is a word that immediately comes to mind; defense. The Greek team has excelled all season long in containing opponents and became the best defensive squad in the EuroCup by allowing just 70.8 points per game until the last round of the Top 16. Defense has been its trademark for the whole season, so it was not weird to think that Promitheas's chances to qualify for the quarterfinals would come through a great defensive display at Oldenburg in the last game of the Top 16.
And it was that way, as Promitheas held EWE Baskets to just 72 points, almost 20 points below what the German team was averaging at home during the season. But above that what Promitheas did best was to play offense. It was team's best scoring night of the season (97), shooting great from every distance: 66.7% on two-pointers, 46.9% on three-pointers and 80% on free throws. They scored 27, 29 and 24 points in the first three quarters, deciding the game much sooner than the final whistle took place. That great offensive performance, combined with its habitual defensive excellence, turned its game into a kind of perfect storm.
"For sure the three-point percentage was a factor tonight, but the key factor was the defensive effort we put on the court. We were very aggressive and that gave us possession by possession the chance to win the game," Coach Makis Giatras said after the game.
Against Oldenburg, Promitheas recorded its second-highest assist output of the season with 29, the sixth-best ever in the Top 16. Ten players had at least one assist with Langdon Hall the most prolific with 8. Even youngsters Eleftheros Mantzoukas and Athanasios Bazinas had an assist each with both playing less than 6 minutes in the game. Not surprisingly, Promitheas drilled 15 three-pointers, many of them coming from an effective ball circulation to find the open man at the right time.
"We shared the ball on offense," said Hall, who posted career-highs in scoring (20) and PIR (31) against Oldenburg. "I think [that what worked out better was] our spacing, we tried to get the ball in the paint and then get it kicked out. The shots come easier that way than dribbling around the three-point line."
The win against Oldenburg allowed Promitheas to secure first place in Group F and it will face Tofas Bursa in the next stage with the homecourt advantage on its side, but Coach Giatras wanted to keep his team humble after the game and enjoy the moment:
"This is probably the biggest moment for this club in its history. As soon as we started the season, our first season in the Eurocup, we knew it is a tough league to play, with big clubs, big budgets and an excellent level of basketball players. But we proved so far that we belong […] In the beginning of the season, people were saying we were outsiders and we worked hard, we stayed humble. We are not the favorites to win the EuroCup, we are going to keep going as we are doing since the beginning of the season and let’s see where it is going to take us."