Narrow hoops victories

Both Panathinaikos and Olympiakos managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat on Sunday as the first half of the league’s regular season came to a close. Panathinaikos struggled against AEK at home, appearing tired and disappointed from its Euroleague loss to Siena on Thursday in Italy. AEK took advantage of this and had a great performance on the day led by an impressive Dimitris Papanikolaou with 21 points and five three-pointers. AEK led for most of the game but a late rally by Panathinaikos gave the Greens the advantage and eventually the victory, by 86-82, at the Olympic Sports Hall. The result meant that Panathinaikos finished the first half of the league at the top of the table. Olympiakos never led in its away game aginst Maroussi late on Sunday except for the last three seconds, when it got the lead for the first and final time (81-82) thanks to a Lynn Greer free throw. Maroussi had led by margins that exceeded 10 points, but nine unanswered points turned the score from 70-60 to 70-69 a few minutes from the end. A Zoran Erceg three-pointer equalized the score at 81-81 for Olympiakos before Greer gave the Reds the win. Olympiakos was playing without former NBA star Josh Childress. In the other games played on Saturday, Panionios came from behind to down Olympia Larissa 70-64 at Hellenikon, and Kolossos thrashed Kavala 101-84. PAOK required overtime to defeat Larissa 97-95 away, with regular time ending 80-80. In another thrilling game in Thessaly, Trikala lost 82-84 to Aris, as the visitors’ experience was telling in the end. Finally, Panellinios had no problems with Aegaleo, winning 83-68 at Kypseli.

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