By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
The score was tied at 79 and Olympiacos had the ball with 24 seconds left. In theory, Zalgiris just wanted to get to overtime, but Thomas Walkup had other plans. Zalgiris‘ guard stole the ball from Kostas Sloukas and with a layup gave Zalgiris the 81-79 win.
Walkup finished the game with five points, while Joffrey Lauvergne with 21 points was the top scorer of the winning side.
“We had a foul to give, and if you’re going to take a foul at least try to steal the ball”, said Walkup. “The refs were letting us play our game, I got my hand on the ball, I took a peek at the clock to see how much time we had left, so I had plenty of time and just tried to get up on the rim. In my three years here we’ve been down late, up late, coming back from large deficits, so we’ve been in every situation possible. We’re an experienced team and we did a great job of showing that tonight.”
After two threes by Vasilis Spanoulis and one by Giorgos Printezis, Olympiacos got a 79-72 lead with three minutes left, but Zalgiris managed to tie and ultimately win the game in the remaining time.
Printezis finished the game with 16 points, while Kostas Sloukas also scored 16 and dished six assists, while also making five turnovers. Sasha Vezenkov added 11 points and Spanoulis finished the night with nine.
The game was close from wire to wire, even if Zalgiris had a small lead for most of the time.
The hosts closed the first half with just a one-point advantage (45-44), however at the start of the last quarter they had a 4-0 run and a 67-60 lead. Still, Olympiacos tied the score after a three by Giorgos Printezis and a layup by Shaq McKissic (67-67) with 7.30 left in the game, setting the stage for the thrilling finale.
“It was a bad loss for us, especially with how we played in the second half”, said Olympiacos coach Giorgos Bartzokas. “We were patient and found a lot of open looks, we had a 7-point difference in the last two minutes and then we did whatever we could to lose the game. We missed a layup under the basket, and immediately Zalgiris hit on transition. And of course we lost the last possession and they scored a buzzer-beater. So it was completely our mistake. We had all the experienced players inside the line-up to handle the situation, but unfortunately for us Zalgiris won the game and I would like to congratulate them.”
After the game, Olympiacos sports director Christos Bafes made the following comment for the last play: “During the last possession of the game, Zalgiris bench asked for a foul, it was heard clearly. A foul was made, but not called and Zalgiris got the win. We are waiting for the official position of the EuroLeague on the last play”.