By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Nemanja Nedovic scored 18 out of his game-high 20 points in the last 15 minutes and also drained the go-ahead free throws as Panathinaikos Athens beat Fenerbahce Beko 91 – 87 at OAKA to claim its first win of the season in EuroLeague.
“We didn’t give up to the end,” Nedovic said. Panathinaikos‘ star bounced back in style after a scoreless performance in the Round 1 loss to AS Monaco. “I think we fought until the end, when we were 5 points down, I told the guys, keep believing, as I thought we still had a chance. We have to build on this.”
Fenerbahce committed two unsportsmanlike fouls in the last 10 seconds which were decisive to the game’s outcome. With the Turkish side up 84 – 87, Marko Guduric made the first unsportsmanlike foul on Daryl Macon Jr. who closed the gap to one point. Then Devin Booker committed the second on Nedovic to give the Serbian guard the opportunity to put his team up 88 – 87.
Ioannis Papapetrou sealed the win of Panathinaikos with three free-throws in a stunning finale for the Greens and a rather disappointing result for Fener, not only for the defeat itself but also for the way it came. Sasha Djordjevic’s team was up 82 – 87 with 40 seconds to play after a 0 – 8 run.
“It’s not the way to finish the game,” Djordjevic said. “We should have finished it differently, and that’s when experience comes in and that’s when you don’t do the stuff you must do on the floor. If referees challenge it, and they call a foul, an unsportsmanlike foul, I think the third, which was the fifth of Guduric, you have had to make that foul differently. It’s difficult to teach that, because in those situations you have to bring that in your bag as a player and to understand, with individual tactics, to finish games like this. Also I know the lob pass Nando to [Vesely] was not the right decision to take. He is our most experienced player, but those are things we have to live with.”
Jan Vesely (18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists), Nando De Colo (16 points) and Devin Booker (14 points, seven rebounds) were the top contributors for Fener that led from the end of the first quarter up to the last minutes.
Papapetrou had 14 points and five rebounds, Macon finished with 13 points and Okaro White scored 12 points, including the 3-point play for the 82 – 79. It was the Greens’ first lead after the game’s opening minutes.
First the win, now the improvement
After defeats in both the EuroLeague and the Greek League, Panathinaikos coach Dimitris Priftis wants to see his team build on the win over Fenerbahce and use it as a start for further growth.
“Congratulations to the players for the first win of the season and to the fans,” Priftis said. “They supported us and I think they were a factor for this game and for this win. Regarding the game, we have a lot of things to do better, to put them into the game, a lot of rules to follow with more consistency. I think we need to improve and to progress. Right now, it looks to me that we have to improve a lot of things. It’s good the way we won, but I see a lot of things we have to correct. At least, this win gives us an optimistic atmosphere to keep working.”
Photo: EuroLeague Basketball