SPORTS

Greens snatch victory from jaws of Red Star

Panathinaikos came back from 15 points down to beat Red Star Belgrade in Serbia 90-86 in overtime on Friday and score its second win in three games in the Euroleague.

New signing Nikos Pappas led the Greens to a remarkable victory with his 24 points, making up for a rather poor performance by Dimitris Diamantidis, Antonis Fotsis and Roko Ukic.

After a balanced first period (26-22) the Serbs registered a double-score (22-11) in the second period to lead 48-33 at half-time. The Greeks had problems both in defense and in attack against a team boosted by the noisy crowd of 10,000 fans behind it, that also included Olympiakos fans who made their presence felt with banners and abusive chants in Greek.

At the start of the second half Panathinaikos scored 12 unanswered points to cut the deficit to three (48-45), but Red Star reverted to 14 points ahead (62-48) early in the fourth period as the visitor could only notch up three points in eight minutes.

That was when the inexperience of Red Star and the passion of Pappas made the difference, along with the support of Jonas Maciulis, scorer of 16 points. The Serbs simply could not score in most of their attacks and Panathinaikos edged ahead 71-67 with a 23-5 partial score.

However, some more poor defending allowed the Serbs to equalize 74-74 and take the game to overtime.

Despite having James Gist and Stephane Lasme fouled out, and despite the occasional showering of objects from the stands, the Greens were dominant in the overtime scoring 16 points in five minutes to clinch a four-point win that practically writes off the loss at Lietuvos Rytas at the start of the campaign.

Mike Batiste was also remarkable with 13 points and five out of five two-pointers.