SPORTS

Euroleague triumphs over Turkish opposition

Panathinaikos and Olympiakos scored vital midweek victories over two strong Turkish teams to boost their chances of qualifying to the Euroleague playoffs.

On Thursday Panathinaikos thrashed host Fenerbahce Ulker in Istanbul with a 77-56 score to get to within a whisker of qualifying to the last eight of the competition, having won twice away already in the top 16.

The Greens were completely dominant in Turkey, leading 24-9 after the first period and 36-22 at halftime. Their defense strangled the hosts’ attack, as they put behind them the poor performance in the previous game at home against UNICS Kazan.

Costas Kaimakoglou led the scoring for the Greeks with 19 points, followed by Mike Batiste with 15.

However, coach Zeljko Obradovic is concerned about the health of Steven Smith, who suffered an injury after just six minutes on the court and is likely to miss the league derby with Olympiakos later this month.

The Reds were also victorious in the Euroleague as they defeated visiting Anadolu Efes on Wednesday with an 83-65 score.

Coach Dusan Ivkovic’s men were on top at the start of the game, ending the first half five points ahead (41-36). The Turks came back to end the third period level with Olympiakos (53-53), but they were nowhere to be seen in the last quarter.

Olympiakos scored a partial 30-12 score in the last period to obtain its first victory in the second group stage of the competition after two losses, with Vassilis Spanoulis notching up 18 points and Costas Sloukas adding another 15.

In the Eurocup on Tuesday Aris also scored its first win in the second group stage, beating France’s ASVEL Villeurbanne 77-60 at home.