SPORTS

Panathinaikos builds on its momentum, as Reds lose again

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Basketball

Panathinaikos is riding a comeback momentum in its Euroleague campaign, scoring only its second road win this season, at Gran Canaria on Thursday, while Olympiakos continues to lose ground going down at home to CSKA Moscow on Friday.

The Greens played a very entertaining second half in Spain to win 99-80 and take their record to 11-13, staying in the running for a top-eight spot although they still rank 11th.

The players of coach Rick Pitino had a problematic first half in defense, but still outscored their hosts thanks to spectacular shooting rates, to end up five points to the good at half-time (50-45).

Gran Canaria went on to equalize in the second half (55-55), but Panathinaikos improved its defense and drew energy from the front line of Giorgos Papagiannis and Ian Vougioukas to win comfortably in the end.

Keith Langford and Nick Calathes were the top scorers for the Greek champions, with 18 and 17 points respectively.

The 20 offensive rebounds Gran Canaria collected and the 80 points it scored do not bode well for the Greens, though the latter are definitely on the mend.

On the negative side Panathinaikos has lost forward Dinos Mitoglou for the next couple of weeks due to a shoulder injury during the game.

Olympiakos suffered a 97-81 home reverse to CSKA for its fifth consecutive loss in the Euroleague and an overall record of 12-12 in the regular season.

The Reds are now on the edge, as they lie eighth at the table, tied in points with seventh Baskonia and ninth Bayern, and one win above Panathinaikos.

The game at the Peace and Friendship Stadium was neck-and-neck up to late in the third quarter, with the first half ending 51-50 in the Russians’ favor.

Yet after the 28th minute the visitors pulled away, building a lead that the hosts were unable to reduce, also with captain Vassilis Spanoulis being on four fouls from the start of the second half.

The Reds seemed to have lost their never-say-die mentality, and surrendered to the Moscow club with hardly any resistance in the last quarter.

Zach LeDay made 21 points (plus nine rebounds) for the Piraeus team, followed by Spanoulis with 14.

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