Olympiacos storms to late win in Kaunas 13
Olympiacos Piraeus took over a close game in the final quarter to take home a 75:88 victory against Zalgiris in Kaunas, where the Reds had lost by 20 last season. The final score was deceptive after 23 lead changes and 10 ties in the first 30 minutes, but Olympiacos owned the last 10 to run away with the victory and improve to an 8-4 record. Zalgiris dropped to 4-8.
Olympiacos filled the boxscore with six double:figure scorers, led by Matt Lojeski and Kostas Papanikolaou with 16 each. Georgios Printezis added 15, but limped off in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. Khem Birch posted 13 points, including 7 of 8 late free throws, while Erick Green and Vassilis Spanoulis scored 10 each. Spanoulis had 8 assists as well.
Paulius Jankunas paced Zalgiris with 18 points and 7 rebounds. Brock Motum added 12 points, while Lukas Lekavicius had 11 and 8 assists.
Kevin Pangos fired in a triple to start the scoring while a patented Printezis flip-in got the Reds on the board. A pair of put-backs by Printezis and Papanikolaou made it 5:9 but Leo Westermann’s three-point and a fadeaway by Jankunas put the hosts ahead. Printezis answered with a bank shot and Pangos with a layup as the lead changed hands again. Nikola Milutinov with a dunk off a great pass from Spanoulis made it 14:17 but Edgaras Ulanovas and Arturas Milaknis soon put Zalgiris up 20:19. Printezis hit a one-hander from the foul line before Lekavicius fed Motum in the corner for a triple as Zalgiris led 23:21 after 10 minutes.
Motum scored before Lojeski and Milaknis traded triples to start the second quarter. Green and Spanouls both struck from deep them for a 30:30 tie. Birch slammed a miss to put Olympiacos back in front, 33:34, but Renaldas Seibutis answered from long range to switch it again. After Lekavicius converting made it 38:36. Birch tied it up with a put-back dunk then took a pass from Spanoulis for the lead. Printezis made a brilliant move for a running jumper as Olympiacos pulled into halftime ahead 40:42.
Jankunas and Papanikolaou flipped the scoreboard with triples to start the second half at 43:45. Printezis scored in close then came back with a triple for the Reds’ biggest lead yet, 45:50, but soon a fastbreak by Seibutis preceded Pangos hitting a floater for another lead change, 51:50. Lojeski forged a new tie by beating the shot clock and Papanikolaou stole for a go-ahead breakaway layup. Green buried a triple and Milutinov finished the third quarter at the foul line giving Olympiacos a 60:63 advantage.
Lojeski’s floater opened the fourth quarter and soon a block by Papapetrou led to Green’s triple at 62:67. Spanoulis reappeared with a step:back triple that elicited a groan from the Zalgiris fans at 62:70. After Lojeski’s fastbreak reverse upped the difference to 64:73, worries hit Olympiacos as Printezis limped off the floor with an knee injury. Papanikolaou struck from the arc for the game’s first double-digit lead, 66:76, but free throws and a big steal from Zalgiris led to a Motum layup at 70:76 with 3 minutes left. Spanoulis slalomed for a layup and Birch made 7 of 8 free throws down the stretch, however, as the Olympiacos defense reasserted itself and the visitors walked off winners.