Solid start for two locals in Euroleague

Panathinaikos, a standout performer in the Euroleague’s opening stage of group basketball play, opened its Top 16 campaign with a big 84-57 win last night over visiting Turkish team Efes Pilsen in Group F. The 27-point gap could prove handy later in the round when the group’s final placings and quarterfinal berths are determined. Just weeks earlier, Efes Pilsen had registered its fourth successive Euroleague win over Olympiakos in Greece. Panathinaikos, a runaway winner of its group in the competition’s previous stage, dominated play throughout last night’s game for 19-12, 40-22, 59-44 and 84-57 end-of-quarter leads. Later last night, Aris was overtaken in the second half by visiting Dynamo Moscow for a 86-74 loss in their opening Group G game. Playing Wednesday, OIympiakos began its Top 16 campaign strongly with an impressive 92-84 win at Partizan Belgrade in Group E. Greek international Sofoklis Schortsanitis, sidelined in recent weeks because of a weight problem and a lax attitude, returned with 18 points.