Kevin Punter on fire, road win for Partizan over Panathinaikos

2022-11-03T22:36:37+00:00 2022-11-04T04:37:02+00:00.

Antonis Stroggylakis

03/Nov/22 22:36

Kevin Punter made buckets at will to push Partizan to the away win at OAKA.

By Eurohoops team/

Kevin Punter scored a season-high 29 points on 6-8 (six being a personal EuroLeague record) 3-pointers as Partizan Belgrade beat Panathinaikos 91 – 89 on the road. The game marked the first time former Panathinaikos captain Ioannis Papapetrou faced the Greens after his departure last summer, apart from the always-emotional return of Zeljko Obradovic to OAKA.

“It goes back to staying locked in,” Punter said. “They changed their defensive strategy in the second half so I had to adjust. Me and Mathias [Lessort] made sure we were on the same page and we got it done. Anytime we get a win on the road, that’s key. We were able to steal one here, and that’s big time for us.”

Panathinaikos newcomer Dwayne Bacon had a promising debut with the Greek side, dropping a team-high-tying 17 points in his first game after last season’s French League Finals with AS Monaco.

He scored five points in the last minute as his team came back from a 10-point deficit to close the gap at 87 – 89 with seven seconds to play.

Danilo Andjusic made a pair of free throws and Mateusz Ponitka scored on the other end but there wasn’t any time for the hosts to change anything in the final outcome. Partizan grabbed its third straight EuroLeague win while Panathinaikos dropped to 1-5.

“Congratulations to my players, it’s an important victory,” Partizan coach Zeljko Obradovic said. “The second half was very different, we expected this, we spoke in the locker room that they would be very aggressive. We made some turnovers without any reason, they came back and it was a difficult game in the second half.”

Punter had 20 of his points by the first half to push Partizan towards taking a 41 – 54 behind some stellar shooting. Panathinaikos’ reaction came in the form of a  16 – 4 run that put the Greens at a one-point distance halfway through the third period but their opponents answered with seven unanswered points.

With Nate Wolters (17 points, four assists) leading the charge, Panathinaikos made another comeback attempt and Mateusz Ponitka scored for the 71 – 74 with seven minutes remaining. That was when Punter went locked and loaded again with nine points through the next four minutes as Partizan reclaimed a double-digit advantage, 78 – 88.

The game was then interrupted for a couple of minutes since the floor had to be cleaned of items that were hurled by some Panathinaikos fans. The hosts made their final rally after the break but Partizan held on.

“We were soft in the beginning, our defense was really bad,” Panathinaikos coach Dejan Radonjic said. “The second half was totally different. We had an opportunity to win the game but in the end, we lost.”

Mathias Lessort contributed 12 points plus 11 rebounds to Partizan’s victory while Zach LeDay had 13 points and 10 boards. Dante Exum provided 12 points, including some key buckets after individual efforts down the stretch.

Derrick Williams had 14 points and seven rebounds for Panathinaikos. Pontika scored 12.