By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Zach LeDay scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds, Kostas Papanikolaou added a career-high 22 points and six boards as Olympiacos beat Baskonia 91 – 87 in overtime to improve its EuroLeague record 11-6.
Papanikolaou forced the extra period for a Nikola Milutinov-less Olympiacos thanks to a tough 3-pointer he scored with four seconds remaining. He was also the one to open overtime with a quite difficult triple that set the tone for the Reds.
As coach Velimir Perasovic said: “It’s a very tough loss for us because we had a great opportunity to win. We should have fouled in the last possession of regulations, but in this kind of games sometimes you forget“. His players didn’t foul when up by 3, and Papanikolaou tied the score from beyond the arc.
“A lot of guys made big plays but what Kostas did tonight was exceptional, I had a lot of fun, I hope you did too“, said coach David Blatt about that shot.
Baskonia, that was without forward Tornike Shengelia and guard Jayson Granger, had a nine-point lead, 55 – 64 at the beginning of the fourth period. Yet the Reds chewed bits and pieces of that deficit thanks to Zach LeDay pretty much keeping his team’s head above the water with buckets and being the only Oly player to score in the first half of the last quarter. With five minutes to play, he made it 66 – 67.
Luca Vildoza (19 points, four rebounds, four assists) hit some big buckets to put Baskonia up 66 – 74 and then 73 – 77 with 64 seconds left to play but Papanikolaou made sure that Oly would stay alive.
Vincent Poirier had 17 points plus 12 rebounds for Baskonia and inflicted great damage particularly in the first two periods, when the visiting squad scored at will close to the basket. The Basques were 16 – 18 inside the paint near the end of the first half, taking great advantage of ill Nikola Milutinov’s absence.
Marcelinho Huertas added 17 points and Johannes Voigtmann 10 points and 10 rebounds for Baskonia that is now 7 – 10.