Panathinaikos continues its winning run in the Euroleague
Panathinaikos continued its winning run in the Euroleague with a resounding 86-65 victory over Union Olimpija Ljubljana in Slovenia late on Wednesday night. The Athens basketball club, a three-time European champion with all three titles being won in the past decade, leads Group B with a perfect record after three rounds of play. Thessaloniki club Aris, also playing late Wednesday, suffered its second consecutive defeat, this time against Eldo Napoli in Italy, which registered the club’s first ever Euroleague victory. Ending at 71-69, in favor of the hosts, the game was determined in the final few seconds of play. Both Aris and Eldo Napoli now sit at the lower end of Group C with a win and two losses apiece. Turkish club Fenerbahce Ulker is last with three defeats. Olympiakos, Greece’s other Euroleague representative, the unbeaten front-runner in Group A, was due to play Polish team Prokom Trefl Sopot late last night. Returning to Panathinaikos’s victory on Wednesday, the Greek club put in a powerful game to indicate, once again, that it is one of the firm favorites for this season’s title. However, it should be noted that the Slovenians, who went into the encounter undefeated, were forced to play without three regular starters – Erden Arslan, Saso Ozbolt, and Ivica Jurkovic – all sidelined by injury. Tony Delk was Panathinaikos’s top scorer with 15 points. Dimos Dikoudis contributed with 12; Nikox Hadzivrettas scored 10 points. Panathinaikos led 20-15 at the first quarter break following an impressive 8-0 run. The Greek club led by six points at half time, 37-31. A sturdy third quarter brought the Slovenians back into the game, but Panathinaikos responded to the pressure in the final period to take a promising 67-52 lead with six minutes remaining. Thessaloniki team Aris went down to Eldo Napoli with a two-point loss after the host club’s Valerio Spinelli put away a pair of free throws with 4.9 seconds remaining. The Italians led by as much as 13 points but Aris rebounded with a 23-5 run to set the stage for a see-saw remainder. Alessandro Cittadini was the top scorer for the Napoli club with 12 points, thanks to a five-from-five record with his two-point shots. Jeff Trepagnier added 11 points. For Aris, Alex Scales was the Greek team’s biggest scorer with 17 points.