Huge win for Aris in Turkey

Aris scored a morale-boosting away win in the Euroleague at Efes Pilsen’s Abdi Ipekci home ground (74-84), to make a good start to the week for Greek teams in basketball’s top club competition in Europe. Having already qualified mathematically from last week, Aris played in Istanbul with nothing to lose and registered a memorable win, thanks to an inspired second-half performance that silenced the home crowd, which had been ever-so-noisy in the first half. Efes led throughout the first period (17-10) as Aris found it hard to adjust to the game’s requirements. The Greeks scored only four minutes after tipoff, and then could not match the Turks’ three-point scoring rate. Efes led 25-14 in the second period, but Aris began to shore up its defense and close the margin to 34-31 at halftime. The second half was excellent for the club from Thessaloniki, as it had an impeccable Savvas Iliadis, the Greek guard, who changed the whole face of coach Gordon Herbert’s team. He scored three three-pointers in the third period to help Aris overtake Efes with 10 minutes to go (46-50). Hanno Mottola was also instrumental to Aris’s transformation in the second half and pushed Aris to an 11-point lead (58-69) that proved unassailable for the home team. Iliadis scored 11 points and Mottola 22, while Jeremiah Massey added 19 and Darius Washington another 16 for Aris. This was the second victory in Turkey in a row for Aris, who last year also had beaten Fenerbahce Ulker in Istanbul. Despite the significant result for Aris, it cannot take the club any further above its fifth spot, but at least the team has shown it can respond to tough challenges. It has also built an eight-game winning streak in the Greek league. Today it is Panathinaikos’s turn to face Fenerbahce, but in Athens, with the Greens aiming for the win that will mathematically seal the top spot in their group. Also today, Olympiakos is playing Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania, in a match where Olympiakos will seek its second win away from home in order to move closer to its objective, the second spot in the group, with one more game left to play.