By George Georgakopoulos
Olympiakos put behind it the two painful losses to Panathinaikos in the cup and KAO Dramas in the league to start the second group stage of the Euroleague with a 95-82 home win over Fenerbahce Ulker on Friday.
The capacity crowd at the Peace and Friendship Stadium saw Olympiakos dismiss the challenge Fenerbahce posed with former Panathinaikos coach Zeljko Obradovic on its bench, to dictate the pace of the game that had an unexpectedly high score.
Olympiakos had a prolific first quarter to advance 27-19 and retained the upper hand in the second that ended 47-40, with Vassilis Spanoulis scoring an impressive 16 points in this first half alone.
A partial 11-2 score in the third period had the Turks cut the distance to two points (58-56), with Olympiakos ending the third quarter leading 62-56.
The visitors kept up the pressure, but Stratos Perperoglou and Matt Lojeski kept them at bay with their long-range shots that Fener could do nothing about.
Olympiakos fared best in what resembled a three-point-shot festival and emerged victorious in the end at a must-win game for the Reds in this tough group.
Spanoulis ended the game with 28 points, Perperoglou had 21 and Lojeski notched up 14.
What coach Giorgos Bartzokas should work on is the team’s rebounds, as Fener picked up 37 against Olympiakos’s 32. The Reds had also lost the rebound battle against Panathinaikos and KAOD.
Olympiakos had on its bench its new signing, Mardy Collins as an unused substitute. The US guard has been brought in to replace injured Acie Law, who will be sidelined for the next month and a half.