By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Cazoo Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (13-10) managed to protect their home court despite a great start by Panathinaikos (8-15) in Round 23 of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. The Greek side had an early double-digit lead but it was short-lived as the Spanish team played much better till the end of the game 95-90.
“It’s an important victory for us after a difficult week for the team. Again, we didn’t play good defense as we conceded 52 points in the second half, but I think we controlled the game. We need to improve our defense because we can play better in that department“, Baskonia coach Joan Pennaroya said.
Markus Howard led all scorers with 24 points. Matthew Costello added 16, while Vanja Marinkovic scored 14 points.
“I feel good. I am glad we got the win against a good team, but we can play a lot better. We had a big lead and then we let it up a little bit, so there are definitely things we can get better at and adjust. We definitely needed this one as we haven’t been as consistent lately as we were early, especially on the road. We’ve got to pick it up. We’re a team that’s learning; there are a lot more games to play so we’ve got to get better“, Howard added after the game.
For Panathinaikos, Derrick Williams led the way with 19 points, and Paris Lee, Georgios Papagiannis, and Dwayne Bacon all scored 16 points.
After an incredible start, where Panathinaikos had an 11-point (21-10) advantage in just over three minutes in the opening quarter, it all came crumbling down for coach Radonjic’s squad. Baskonia responded with long-range shots by Costello and Howard that cut the lead down to 23-21. After that, it was all Baskonia.
Dominating the second quarter offensively by scoring 31 points, the home side was up 14 points at the half (52-38). Panathinaikos managed to cut down the lead early in the fourth quarter and almost dropped it to eight points after a Dwayne Bacon three (83-75) which ultimately never counted, but Baskonia remained cool and got the job done.
“Congrats to Baskonia, they were better than us tonight“, Dejan Radonjic added.
It’s a big win for Baskonia, who had lost five of its last six games and has now improved to 13-10 to stay on course for a playoff spot. Panathinaikos dropped to 8-15, with only a slim chance of finishing in the Top 8.