Panathinaikos’ hoopsters couldn’t seem to buy a win in Euroleague basketball play and they can’t seem to lose against Greek league archrival Olympiakos, putting a 66-62 defeat on the Reds, the third straight victory over their court enemy – this one in group play for the European tourney.
The key was once was clamping down on Olympiakos’ captain and sharpshooter, Vassilis Spanoulis, usually a clutch player who hit only 2-of-12 from the field and had one free throw, the difference in a game that as close all the way.
It wasn’t decided until the end, mirroring a tight match that saw the victors holding only a 35-33 edge at half, before a second half that was thrilling with lead changes and back-and-forth full-court passionate play.
The home advantage held up for Panathinaikos as their defense held Olympiakos to only one point in the last two minutes. James “Airline” Gist came off an injury to dog Spanoulis and make him a non-factor.
Stephane Lasme led the winners with 18 points while Roko Udic added 14. For Olympiakos, Stratos Perperoglou had 12 and Giorgos Printezis scored 10.
With the Euroleague warning of sanctions for rowdy fan behavior, Panathinaikos supporters steered clear of their frequent hooliganism although many of the games between the two teams have been marked by fan violence and clashes.
The result means that Panathinaikos and Olympiakos are now tied along with Armani Milano in second at the table with a 4-3 record at the halfway point of the group.