Basket League favorites survive challenges on the road

PAOK consolidated its position in the top three of the Basket League with a triumph at AGO Rethymnou on Saturday, while Olympiakos and Panathinaikos emerged victorious from their tough away games on Monday.

AGO Rethymnou has seen its performance become less stable in recent week, but posed a major challenge to PAOK before succumbing with a 79-71 score and drop from fourth to sixth.

Olympiakos produced a solid defense in its trip to Patra and overcame local Apollon 67-56. Panathinaikos had experienced Antonis Fotsis and Dimitris Diamantidis to thank for beating host Nea Kifissia 72-66 and avoid another away loss.

AEK and Aris have joined Rethymno on 21 points, after home wins over struggling opponents on Saturday: Aris defeated a disappointing Panelefsiniakos 79-61 and AEK saw off Korivos Amaliadas 76-67.

In other Saturday games, Kolossos routed Panionios 70-56 and Trikala edged out KAO Dramas 80-76.

Bottom-placed Panionios sacked coach Vangelis Alexandris on Monday and brought in its former player and assistant coach Chris Hougaz.

The only league game to take place next weekend will be the Thessaloniki derby between Aris and PAOK that had been abandoned in October for crowd trouble, but the sports judge ruled it must be replayed.