SPORTS

Depleted Reds win, exhausted Greens lose

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Basketball

The restart of the Euroleague saw a depleted Olympiakos overcome visiting Villeurbanne and Panathinaikos throw away another big lead to go down at home to Barcelona.

Olympiakos braved its numerous injury problems to defeat Villeurbanne 77-68 at the Peace and Friendship Stadium on Thursday for its 11th win in 25 games.

It has also found in youngster Alexandros Nikolaidis a great defensive worker, as in 17 minutes he scored six points, collected five defensive rebounds and stole the ball four times.

The Greeks had just nine players to use, but made the most out of a bad situation, helped on by about 8,000 fans who still believe in this team.

Through their tight defense, the Reds built a 10-point lead in the second period (43-33 at half-time) and never let go of it in the second half despite the efforts by the French team.

Sasha Vezenkov was the top scorer for Olympiakos with 15 points, but Octavius Ellis (13 points) was also instrumental to the Reds’ win.

However the injury Nikola Milutinov suffered during the game is an additional cause for concern for coach Giorgos Bartzokas.

Panathinaikos went down 92-81 in Athens to Barcelona on Friday as it completely switch off in the final third of the game.

The Greens remain on sixth with a 14-11 record, letting a precious victory slip through their collective fingers. They therefore saw their great effort of the first 26 minutes go to waste.

After a solid first half Panathinaikos advanced 45-38, being dominant in defense and in rebounding, while scoring with ease.

However on a poor night for players such as Dinos Mitoglou, Tyrese Rice and Wesley Johnson, coach Rick Pitino was left out of options when his top-pick players such as Nick Calathes (10 points, 11 assists), Giorgos Papagiannis (14 points, eight rebounds) etc. got tired.

This allowed Barcelona to bounce back from a 59-48 deficit and advance 70-69 early in the last period before strolling to an 11-point win in the end through consecutive offensive rebounds and free shots.

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