SPORTS

Olympiakos hoopsters win by eight at Siena

Olympiakos beat Siena 70-62 in Italy for its fourth win in as many Euroleague group games this season, although victory did not come as easily as expected.

Siena has slashed its budget due to the problems of its main sponsor, the Monte di Paschi bank, and has even moved out of its home court to neighboring Florence for the Euroleague.

Olympiakos, the European champion of the last two years, was always the favorite in this encounter on Friday and enjoyed leads between 12 and 15 points for most of the game, except for the latter part of the fourth quarter.

Having led 36-23 at half-time, the Reds appeared to be strolling to an easy triumph in front of a capacity crowd at the Nelson Mandela Hall, but with the score at 56-42 Siena began to reduce its arrears, came to within seven points (56-49) and then to within five (65-60), as the Olympiakos defense seemed more relaxed than in the rest of the game.

With just a few seconds remaining on the clock and the score at 67-62, Siena missed a three-pointer that would have taken it to within two points. Instead Olympiakos added three more points at the other basket to win by eight.

No Olympiakos player scored any more than nine points, the tally that Vassilis Spanoulis, Bryant Dunston, Matt Lojeski and Mirza Begic had.

The bad news for the Greeks from this game concerns the injury to Cedric Simmons, who had his shoulder dislocated.