Papanikolaou, Wiltjer lead Olympiacos to victory against Milan
EUROLEAGUE REGULAR SEASON - ROUND 16
|Olympiacos||87 - 80||Armani Milano|
|(26 - 17)
(48 - 34)
(70 - 53)
(87 - 80)
Olympiacos snuck back into a tie for first place in the EuroLeague on Friday night thanks to a gritty win against AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan.
Kostas Papanikolaou and Kyle Wiltjer scored 15 points each to lead Olympiacos to an 87-80 win over AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan at the Peace & Friendship Stadium on Friday night.
After a disappointing loss to Zalgiris Kaunas in which Olympiacos blew a fourth quarter lead, the Erythrolefki avoided the same scenario despite a late pushback from Milan n the final frame.
Nikola Milutinov returned to EuroLeague for Olympiacos for the first time since he featured as a starter in the clash with Real Madrid on 8 December, but the Serbian was limited to just nine minutes of action off the bench.
Recent signing Mindaugas Kuzminskas made his Milan debut in the EuroLeague and the Lithuanian international had a solid night with 12 points on 4/7 shooting. Kuzminskas would be upstaged by teammate Andrew Goudelock, who finished with 20 points.
Olympiacos opened up a lead early as the home side cruised to a 26-17 lead in the opening frame, before further expanding that lead in the second quarter for a 14-point lead at halftime (48-34).
Yiannis Sfairopoulos’ men continued to expand their lead in the third quarter with Vassilis Spanoulis helping the Olympiacos offense to click. A couple of key shots from the Greek international would ensure Olympiacos’ lead would grow to 17 points (70-53).
Milan would begin their pushback in the fourth quarter as the Italian side posted 27 points in the final frame. The effort wouldn’t be enough, however, as Olympiacos would hold to a seven-point lead en route to the final buzzer.
The win takes Olympiacos to 12-4 on the season and back into a tie with CSKA Moscow for first place in the league standings following the Russian side’s loss to Barcelona on Thursday.
Milan, meanwhile, remain deadlocked with Anadolu Efes for last place in the standings as the Italian side sports an ugly 4-12 record through 16 rounds of action.
Milan will be in tough to improve on their league-worst record at home against CSKA, one day before Olympiacos travel to Spain to take on Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz.