By Eurohoops Team/ email@example.com
Despite trailing most of the way, AEK saved the day and eventually edged out Panionios, 93-88, in overtime qualifying for the Semifinals of the Greek Cup Thursday.
In his usual role as AEK’s enforcer until an early exit, Akil Mitchell left the thrilling contest favoring his right leg with 12 points and seven rebounds over 18 minutes. A few minutes later, Isaiah Miles with a knee injury was the second player ruled out for the remainder of the contest.
Upping their offensive efforts following the setbacks, Cameron McGriff and Janis Strelnieks shared a team-high 15 points in Heraklion. For the losing side, experienced guard Dimitris Verginis, a former EuroLeague champion with Panathinaikos in 2009, logged a game-high 29 points.
Competing in the third-tier division of Greece, Panionios navigated through Qualifiers to reach the Final 8 presenting an early version of the plan to return to the top-tier division of Greece. Meanwhile, the remaining seven contenders were simply based on the standings of the top-tier Basket League.
Greek Cup Final 8 Quarterfinals
The “Queen” will face Peristeri in the semifinals Saturday (19/2). The latter defeated PAOK Thessaloniki 77 – 64 behind 22 points by Marcus Denmon and returned to the semifinal after 2020.
Powerhouses Olympiacos and Panathinaikos emerging as the favorites on the opposite side of the bracket are considered likely to nuke it out in the second semifinal. The final will be held to conclude the eight-team tournament in Heraklion Sunday.