BASKETBALL

First Greek win in the Euroleague this year

First Greek win in the Euroleague this year

At last a Greek victory in the Euroleague this year, with Panathinaikos defeating Baskonia at home on Friday, one day after Olympiakos suffered its third straight reverse, this time to Red Star Belgrade in Piraeus.

Panathinaikos made the most of Baskonia’s absences, though it also missed two key players (Giorgos Papagiannis and Daryl Macon) due to injury. It scored a 75-63 triumph for its fifth win in 20 games, capping a remarkable defensive performance in the first three quarters of the game.

The Greens led 22-8 after Q1 and 38-20 at half-time, and with their lead at 27 points at the start of Q4 (59-32) it was never in doubt who would win this one.

Also importantly for coach Dimitris Priftis, Panathinaikos offered a debut to new arrival Stefan Jovic. The Serb playmaker scored six points in 19 minutes, while his compatriot Nemanja Nedovic paced the hosts with 16.

There were more Serbs enjoying their night in Greece, on the previous day, as Red Star inflicted on Olympiakos its first home loss in the Euroleague this season. The Belgrade giant won 76-72, with Olympiakos confirming it is in a poor spell.

The visitors kept the upper hand throughout the game, if by a small margin, as Olympiakos was too error-prone (17 turnovers, four more fouls committed than the opposition) to win the game at the Peace and Friendship Stadium.

Sasha Vezenkov made 20 points and Kostas Sloukas another 18 in the Piraeus team’s eighth loss in 20 games.