Olympiacos Continue Strong Start in EuroLeague
EUROLEAGUE REGULAR SEASON - ROUND 1
|Olympiacosc||80 - 75||Unicaja Malaga|
|(21 - 11)
(37 - 33)
(59 - 47)
(80 - 15)
Hollis Thompson scored 15 points to ensure Olympiacos stay unbeaten in the EuroLeague.
Olympiacos’ strong start to the EuroLeague continued on Friday night as the Piraeus giants defeated Unicaja Malaga 80-75 at the Peace and Friendship Stadium.
Without captain Vassilis Spanoulis for yet another game, it was Thompson who led the way to stave off a Unicaja side that had four scorers reach double digits including Ray McCallum and Dragan Milosavljevic who each scored 14 points.
Olympiacos used strong perimeter shooting to take the lead early as the Erythrolefki were up 9-2 in the opening minutes. Thompson and Ioannis Papapetrou then struck from distance to push the lead to 19-4 as Unicaja struggled to keep-up with last year’s finalists. The visiting Spanish side would pile on a few points to make the first quarter score a little more respectable at 21-11.
Unicaja appeared to have learned their lesson in the second frame as the Spanish side were the ones to show more initiative to start the quarter. Unicaja’s 8-0 run from the end of the first quarter to early in the second quarter saw the Spanish side back within single digits. Janis Strelnieks and Kostas Papanikolaou scored to keep Olympiacos in front, but a streaky Unicaja struck again with an 11-2 run to trail by just four at halftime (37-33).
Thompson would again be the protagonist for Olympiacos to start the second half as he scored his side’s first five points, before Georgios Printezis connected for his basket of the night to extended the lead back to double digits.
Olympiacos would take a 12-point lead into the fourth quarter; a deficit that proved to be just too much for the Spaniards to overcome. Vangelis Mantzaris struck for a three-pointer to start the final frame, but an 8-0 run by Unicaja ensured the finale in Piraeus would be tense.
Unicaja would cut the lead to just three points as Carlos Suarez scored four consecutive points. Olympiacos would pass the late test from Unicaja as Printezis rose to the occasion to provide a clutch basket, before a late three-pointer from Mantzaris proved to be a dagger in Unicaja’s comeback attempt.
The win keeps Olympiacos in a four-way tie for first place early on in the standings as the Erythrolefki are joined by Real Madrid, Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv, and Khimki Moscow Region.
Round 3 sees Olympiacos make their first road trip as Giannis Sfairopoulos’ men travel to Israel to take on Maccabi, while Unicaja look to rebound against basement side Brose Bamberg.