Lietuvos upsets Panathinaikos in Athens

Lietuvos Rytas stunned Panathinaikos with a 68-67 score at the Olympic Sports Hall on February 23, putting the Greek champion’s future in the Euroleague in doubt.

The Greens had huge problems in attack and seemed disorientated at times as they were strangled by the Lithuanian defense.

In fact, the Greeks could not even score from the 6.75-meter line, making just two out of 16 three-pointers. Lietuvos Rytas, who had also upset Caja Laboral in Spain three weeks earlier, led 23-20 after the first period, but Panathinaikos was the better team in the second, closing the first half with a five-point advantage (39-34).

The visitors tightened up their defense in the second half, with the third period closing at 53-48, and staged their full comeback in the last period, led by an impressive Brad Newley who scored 16 points.

Nervous Panathinaikos had Mike Batiste as its top scorer with just 11 points, while Drew Nicholas had 10, but no three-pointers in five attempts.

The Greens are now depending on the other results of the group to see whether they can hold onto the top spot of their group, or indeed get a ticket to the knockout stages of the Euroleague.

They need to beat Unicaja Malaga on March 3 and see Lieatuvos Rytas defeat Caja Laboral at home on the same evening in order to top their pool and enjoy the home advantage in the quarterfinals.

On February 22, Aris beat Budivelnik 78-73 in Kiev for the Eurocup to become the favorite for a spot in the next round.

Despite trailing by up to 15 points (42-27) in Ukraine, the Thessaloniki side was impressive in the second half and scored a precious win, the first under new coach Lefteris Subotic.

In Spain, Panellinios lost 84-71 at Cajasol Sevilla for its fifth loss in as many games in the second group stage of the Eurocup.

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