High drama for AEK, heartbreak for PAOK in FIBA Champions League
AGONAsport.com’s Peter Katsiris reviews the action from Gameday 2 in the FIBA Basketball Champions League…
Gameday 2 in the FIBA Basketball Champions League brought with it a dose of high drama as AEK needed overtime to emerge victorious in Italy, while PAOK slumped to another defeat but not without any heartbreak.
The slate of Gameday 2 action began with Aris’ visit to the Czech Republic, where the evening proved to be a difficult one for Panagiotis Giannakis’ men. Having defeated AEK at the weekend, Aris stumbled against CEZ Nymburk on Tuesday night as the Autokratoras crashed to a 99-70 defeat.
After a tight first half at the CEZ Sportovni Hala, Nymburk took control in the third quarter courtesy of a 25-13 run – only for the Czech side to make the win all the more convincing thanks to a dominant fourth quarter. Aris’ Gary Bell scored 15 points, but the night belonged to Nymburk who had five scorers reach double-digits – including Quincy Diggs who tallied 19 points to lead all scorers. Aris return home on Gameday 3, but the Thessaloniki side will be in tough when Group D leaders Nanterre 92 visit the Nick Galis Hall.
While Aris’ Tuesday evening was certainly one to forget, AEK’s clash with Umana Reyer Venezia was an instant classic as AEK emerged victorious 103-101 at the Palasport Taliercio in Venezia-Mestre. In what was a tight contest from start to finish, AEK threw away a lead in the late quarter to allow Umana Reyer to force overtime.
AEK would take the initiative in the extra period to twice lead by six points, only to be pegged back by a resilient Umana Reyer on both occasions. With the game tied 101-101, AEK’s Delroy James posterized former Panathinaikos man Mike Bramos to clinch the win for the Enosi. Umana Reyer’s Gediminas Orelik notched a double-double and led all scorers with 25 points, while Michael Green’s 23 points paved the way for AEK. Now at 1-1 on the season, AEK return to OAKA on Gameday 3 to host Turkish side Banvit in hopes of climbing the Group C standings.
On Wednesday night in Thessaloniki, PAOK slumped to a second defeat in as many games as the Dikefalos tou Vorra were on the wrong side of an 85-82 score-line against Gaziantep at the PAOK Sports Arena.
Gaziantep led for most of the night, but a strong third quarter from PAOK tipped the scale in favour of the hosts heading into the final frame. PAOK were unable to hold their slim margin, however, as the Turkish visitors managed to take back the lead late in the fourth quarter to improve to 2-0. PAOK’s Brandon Triche led all scorers with 22 points, while Gaziantep’s Sean Armand countered with 20 points – all of which the American scored in the second half. PAOK will look for their first win of the group stage when they make the trip across the Adriatic Seato face Italian outfit Sikeliarchivi Capo D’Orlando in Sicily.