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With the heart of the champion

Olympiacos beat Siena in Italy 68-67 for the 11th day of the Euroleague TOP-16 and made a giant step towards qualifying for the play-offs.

Olympiacos beat Siena in Italy 68-67 for the 11th day of the Euroleague TOP-16 and made a giant step towards qualifying for the play-offs.

Olympiacos started the game well and led by 6, but the Italians made a quick come back and closed the first quarter leading 18-17. Banchi’s team was even leading by 10 at 17’, but Olympiacos with Law and Antic managed to close in at 37-36 by half-time.

The Italians once again created a score margin, but the European and Greek Champions had not spoken their final words. With a partial 12-2 the Piraeus team led once again, even by 7 at 39’, but two three-pointers by Siena closed the margin at one point and now everything is going to be determined during the last day of the competition.

Τhe quarters: 18-17, 37-36, 54-49, 67-68
Siena (Banchi): Brown 8, Eze 6, Carraretto 3, Kangur 14, Sanikidze 2, Ortner 5, Janning 14, Hackett 4, Moss 11.
Οlympiacos (Bartzokas): Hines 10, Law 7, Antic 9, Spanoulis 10, Perperoglou 2, Shermadini 8, Sloukas 11, Powell, Perkins, Papanikolaou 11.

GIORGOS BARTZOKAS: “It was a superb game. Not a qualification final, but a very important game nonetheless. It has been the step we wanted to take to advance into the TOP-16. We want to go as far as possible with the Euroleague and this has been an important step. I can’t say we played well, but I can say we played seriously. We used unusual formats since we lost Printezis one day prior to our departure from Greece. We tried to adjust our formations to theirs, we played with three guards. We made a good effort and we finally won. We showed character once again and we are optimistic about advancing to the Euroleague play-offs. Spanoulis has a bad first-half. Siena adjusted its entire defense on him. All their attention had been on him. They played different types of zone with one player on him; they were sending a second player on him. But, even so, with a team putting a stop on him for 30 minutes, he showed the kind of personality he is at the end, he made the difference, he’s extremely dangerous. He gave us exactly what we needed to take the victory. It has been one more good performance for him that got us the victory”.

KOSTAS PAPANIKOLAOU: “Energy and soul are above all. When we were playing well, we were all playing well and delivering good basketball. When the score margin was getting wider, we wouldn’t allow Siena to attack the transition. The key was that the ball was leaving our hands quickly and reaching the free player. We would make plays through miss match. We were focused on defense, we received very few points and that was what kept the team into the game till the end. Winning was above everything else. Whether the score difference would be a factor remains to be seen at the end. We have three more games, we are going to fight to the end and we hope that Siena makes a faux pass. What counts is to make the play-offs. I think we covered for Giorgos’ void (i.e Printezis), all the guys have been good at that, Stratos (i.e. Perperoglou) and Pero (i.e. Antic). Giorgos would have been of great help tonight since they were allowing quite a few shots for the power forwards to take”.


“Our victory tonight shows for our team character. We knew the game would be difficult. We were trailing by 10, but we never gave up. We fought to the end. We showed character, we proved we are a team and we fought to the end for this great victory”.

*Seventy Olympiacos fans were at the Palaestra and with their excitement and support helped the team reach victory.

The group results

Maccabi Tel Aviv-Khimki 80-79
Siena-Olympiacos 67-68
Caja Laboral-Fenerbahce/Ulker 87-67
Barcelona-Besiktas (15/3)

Standings (After 11 games)

1. Barcelona 9-1*
2. Siena 7-4
3. Olympiacos 7-4
4. Khimki 6-5
5. Maccabi Tel Aviv 6-5
6. Caja Laboral 6-5
7. Fenerbahce/Ulker 2-9
8. Besiktas 0-10*
*One game less

Nest game (21-22/3)

Barcelona-Caja Laboral 21/3
Κhimki-Fenerbahce/Ulker 22/3
Besiktas-Siena 22/3
Οlympiacos-Maccabi Tel Aviv 22/3