Young Ioannis Papapetrou helped Olympiakos stage an impressive last-quarter performance to beat visiting Efes Anadolu 86-75 on Thursday and bring its Euroleague losing streak to an end.
The Reds have now sealed a top-three finish in their group and will give it all for a top-two spot in Moscow next week against CSKA.
In the first three quarters of the game at the Peace and Friendship Stadium of Piraeus Efes was either on top or level with Olympiakos, with the first half ending 35-35 and Efes leading after the third quarter by four (57-53).
Yet in the last period the introduction of Papapetrou and a fantastic shooting rate allowed Olympiakos to score 33 points against the Turks’ 18 and win the game by the biggest margin of difference the hosts had enjoyed throughout the match.
Urged on by over 7,000 supporters, Olympiakos shook off the absences of both its point-guards, Vassilis Spanoulis and Costas Sloukas, and of Brent Petway, and overcame the nerves that two consecutive losses had generated to won a game it had to win mainly through the consecutive three-pointers in the last eight minutes.
A Greek player was the game’s top scorer, Stratos Perperoglou, but his 23 points were for Efes. Olympiakos’s top scorer was Oscar Lafayette with 17.
Notably, all top four teams of the group have coaches who in recent years have worked in the Greek league: Besides Olympiakos’s Yiannis Sfairopoulos, Fenerbahce has former Panathinaikos coach Zeljko Obradovic, CSKA employs Dimitris Itoudis, the former assistant to Obradovic at Panathinaikos, and Efes is coached by Dusan Ivkovic, who has won two Euroleague crowns with Olympiakos.