By Antonis Stroggylakis / firstname.lastname@example.org
An eruption in the beginning of the fourth period and a big basket by Sasha Vezenkov in crunch time pushed Olympiacos Piraeus to their second win in a row in EuroLeague. The Reds beat Real Madrid 74 – 68 at home to move to 2-0 while handing the Spanish powerhouse their first loss this season after seven straight wins in all competitions.
“On offense we did not play great, but in the second half we allowed 32 points, which is incredible in the EuroLeague nowadays,” Vezenkov said in praise of Olympiacos‘ stout defense. “We did a great job and we won this game. I hit one out of seven threes, but I try to give everything to the team, in good moments and bad moments, but the most important thing is that we won.”
With the score 71 – 68 and 30 seconds to play, Vezenkov scored the layup that pretty much sealed the victory of Olympiacos and pushed back a comeback by Real Madrid from 11 points down. He finished with a game-high-tying 16 points, along with a game-high 10 rebounds.
Tyler Dorsey added 12 points for Olympiacos, including five in a row for the 70 – 59 with five minutes to play.
His team sat on the driver’s seat in the fourth period after a 14-4 run that gave the hosts the first double-digit lead for any squad in an otherwise close tight.
Former Olympiacos player Nigel Williams-Goss scored 16 points in his top performance so far with the Real jersey. Edy Tavares dropped 15 points, grabbed six rebounds and delivered three blocks for Real that finished 3-24 3-pointers.
Real coach Pablo Laso addressed his team’s missed shots along with Olympiacos’ dominant stretch.
“I think we were solid during 36, 37 minutes, but in 3 or 4 minutes they scored good baskets, good shots,” Laso said . “We missed a lot of open jumpers. We fought until the end, but we were behind them. We got to learn that every EuroLeague game is like this.”
Kostas Sloukas and Kostas Papanikolaou dropped nine points apiece for Olympiacos while Giannoulis Larentzakis had five out of his eight points during the run of his team in the beginning of the fourth quarter that gave them what proved to be a winning advantage.
Shutting down the Real Madrid machine
Not only did Olympiacos became the first team to win Real Madrid this season but the Greek side also managed to contain their opponents’ otherwise prolific offense. It was what mattered the most for Olympiacos coach Giorgos Bartzokas.
“In my opinion, the key was our defensive stability,” Bartzokas said. “We were consistent on defense for 40 minutes, staying with our plan. Everybody gave everything on defense. It is not easy to hold Real Madrid to scoring 68 points. They have a lot of talent, and we needed to make a great effort on defense.”