Aris returns to big league with victory

Aris, a former high flyer in European basketball with three Final Four qualifications in the late 1980s, returned to the continent’s premier club-level competition 14 years on with a 66-58 win over Turkish club Fenerbahce last night. It was the Thessaloniki club’s opening match in Group C, one of three eight-team groups set up for the Euroleague’s first stage. In the opening game of the season, played in Spain late Tuesday, three-time European champion Panathinaikos, one of the favorites for this season’s title, rebounded to defeat Badalona, 82-79, in a Group B game. The Athens club had trailed by as much as 24 points in the first half. Later last night, Olympiakos, Greece’s other Euroleague entry, was up against Spain’s TAU Ceramica in a Group A match played in Piraeus.