Vezenkov, Papanikolaou push Olympiacos past ALBA

2022-11-24T21:43:23+00:00 2022-11-24T23:59:51+00:00.

Antonis Stroggylakis

24/Nov/22 21:43

It was kind of a stressfull affair for Olympiacos that managed to subdue ALBA late in the match.

By Eurohoops Team/

Sasha Vezenkov’s usual offensive output and Kostas Papanikolaou’s two-way contribution in his best game this season helped Olympiacos Piraeus bring down a very competitive ALBA Berlin team.

Vezenkov scored a game-high 24 points, grabbed six rebounds and had four steals while Papanikolaou posted 19 points plus nine boards as Olympiacos beat ALBA  86 – 76 to return to wins after losing at Maccabi Tel Aviv two days ago.

“It’s great, of course, to get back after the loss,” said Papanikolaou, “We were not in very high energy in the first half, we found ourselves in the second half, we played good defense. We brought our fans into the game, and altogether we fought and got a very important win against a very good opponent. The most important thing in a team is not who is going to score the points, but the victory. It’s about putting another victory in our bag and keeping going because it’s going to be a long way and we will need them.”

“I’m very happy about the team. It was an important victory, ALBA is really a good team. The seven losses in a row are not in their favor, but they showed they can play really good basketball and we knew that even with a 10-point lead they could come back anytime. I’m very happy we managed to win this game after the tough loss in Tel Aviv,” added Vezenkov.

Olympiacos led for almost the entire fourth period but ALBA was always in hot pursuit until the last minutes. With the score 70 – 68 in the mid of the quarter, the Reds made a 12 – 4 run to enter crunch time at a safe distance.

Maodo Lo (12 points, seven assists) and Jaleen Smith (10 points, six rebounds) stood out from an ALBA squad that led 37 – 38 near the end of the first half despite committing 10 turnovers thanks to efficient shooting (9-12 2-pointers). While Olympiacos took the lead at the break (39-38) and kept it for the vast majority of the second half, the German side always remained a threat until the last stretch of the match.

Kostas Sloukas notched 12 points and 12 assists for Olympiacos while finishing with zero turnovers. Joel Bolomboy provided valuable assistance off the bench with 12 points along with some key defensive plays.

“I have to mention that this is the EuroLeague. The team that has seven straight losses has this amazing quality. They play so good together, they have this high pace philosophy, they execute really fast,” noted head coach Giorgos Bartzokas, “For us, right after the last game against Maccabi, that we spent a lot of energy, the trip was really difficult, and tonight we had to spend a lot of energy too, so I think it was one of the most difficult games this year for us. I really appreciate the effort of the players and the help of the fans. It’s a great win for us.”

“We didn’t arrive with enough energy at the end,” was the immediate reaction of losing boss Israel Gonzalez, “Congratulations to Olympiacos, they did a very good game. We need to keep working, keep developing and try to improve every day.”