Fenerbahce opens 2022 with triumph over Olympiacos

2022-01-11T20:35:05+00:00 2022-01-12T01:19:17+00:00.

Antonis Stroggylakis

11/Jan/22 20:35

Eurohoops.net
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The 2022 EuroLeague season began with a game packed with everything: Runs, ejections, ups and downs and ultimately a win for Fener.

By Eurohoops team/ info@eurohoops.net

Six players scored in double figures for Fenerbahce Beko as the team beat Olympiacos Piraeus 94 – 80 at home in the first EuroLeague game of 2022. The Turkish side shot 15-29 3-pointers and registered an impressive number of 27 assists to get the win thanks to a powerful second half (58-41).

Fener captain Melih Mahmutoglu dropped a season-high 17 points and Dyshawn Pierre had 14 points. Achille Polonara posted 15 points plus seven rebounds, Devin Booker contributed 12 points, five rebounds plus five assists, Pierria Henry scored 11 points and dished out eight assists while playing through pain and Marko Guduric added 11 points plus five dimes. The hosts prevailed with ease down the stretch despite the absences of stars Nando De Colo and Jan Vesely.

While Olympiacos dropped fourth in the standings and at a 12-6 record, Fener improved to 8-10 to get closer to the playoff zone.

“Defense is obviously number one [in importance], but it’s good that everybody knocked down shots today and that’s really what it’s been for the season, just knocking down shots and finding open players and we did that tonight,” Pierre said. “A lot of the things come from coaching and my teammates. I am happy I am able to perform and help the team, especially in such an important win going for the playoffs down the line. So I am happy right now for the win and we have to keep on moving forward.”

Tyler Dorsey (14 points, all of them in the second half, five rebounds but also seven turnovers), Kostas Sloukas (14 points, seven assists, five rebounds), Kostas Papanikolaou (12 points) and Giorgos Printezis (a season-high 12 points in the first 18 minutes) stood out from Olympiacos that saw head coach Giorgos Bartzokas getting ejected with three minutes to play in the first half. The Reds hadn’t played a game since December 26 due to coronavirus problems, were visibly affected by this long period of inactivity.

Olympiacos was better at the beginning of the game, leading 11 – 17 after the first period and was up 50 – 52 early in the second half. Fener took advantage of multiple turnovers by its opponents to close the third quarter with a 66 – 59 advantage.

The best was yet to come for Fener in the game since they scored nine unanswered points at the start of the fourth period to extend their lead to 74 – 59. Olympiacos was unable to recover and fell behind even by 20 in the last minutes.

“For sure they were better than us,” Olympiacos assistant coach Christos Pappas said. “They deserve the win. They played more physical, they put more pressure and obviously offensively we were not able to cope with this pressure. Mainly bad options that led to transition offenses that led to good shots for them.”

A lot of things to be pleased about

Fenerbahce coach Sasha Djordjevic saw his players putting a tremendous effort to overcome several problems against one of the top teams in EuroLeague right now.

“It was a team game and our defense was really sharp tonight,” Djordjevic said. “The guys were really ready. Nevertheless, we tried to pick up some aggressiveness in the first half. We had some careless mistakes in one-on-ones, but after we corrected that, I believe the guys did a great job. The 27 assists showed that we really played as a team. We had some guys who really stepped up big like Captain Mahmutoglu from the bench. But all the others did a good job. The energy level was okay. This win is really important for us. I don’t know [about Henry’s injury]. That’s my biggest worry right now. He had a hit yesterday in practice. Nevertheless, he wanted to play. He played, he is a real good point guard. Maybe I didn’t like the 2 turnovers in the second quarter, but other than that he played a really great game.”