AEK and PAOK grabbed the results they needed on Tuesday night and advanced to the knock-out stages of the Basketball Champions League. While PAOK did so in style, with a 21-point away win at Ventspils, AEK’s advance was particularly dramatic, and determined a few minutes after the end of its game against Bayreuth in Athens.
AEK needed a spectacular final-quarter fight-back to beat its German visitor 83-81 in Athens, courtesy of a triple by Dusan Sakota six seconds from the end that gave AEK its only lead in the entire second half.
The Yellows also needed other results go their way, and thankfully from their point of view they did, with the victories of Strasbourg and Venezia. They went through as the best team in a four-way tie, finishing third in their group on eight wins from 14 games.
PAOK has joined AEK in the round of 16 thanks to an emphatic 80-59 win in Latvia.
The Thessaloniki club advanced with a 7-7 record as third in its group, after a rally of four wins in its last five games.
In a winner-takes-all game PAOK was clearly dominant in the game and even when Ventspils staged a comeback to cut a double-digit deficit to the minimum distance, PAOK responded with a solid final 10 minutes during which it conceded just five points.
On Wednesday Aris hosts Oostende, but has already been eliminated.