January 22, 2021

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Olympiacos sweeps Zenit St. Petersburg to return to winning ways

3 min read
With their defense putting a lot of pressure to Zenit, Olympiacos got a much-needed win...

With their defense putting a lot of pressure to Zenit, Olympiacos got a much-needed win in Russia, 66-75, after two consecutive losses to Anadolu Efes and Bayern Munich. Zenit St. Petersburg returned back on the game in the fourth quarter, stunning Olympiacos and getting some extra boost from their fans. Coach Bartzokas saw his players following their initial game plan, playing tough defense, fighting for every rebound and every possession, scoring some tough baskets and getting the win.

Hassan Martin was the top scorer for Olympiacos with 16 points and 7/7 2-point FG, with Shaquielle McKissic adding 10 points and Sasha Vezenkov nine. For Zenit, Billy Baron scored 13 points, with Austin Hollins adding another 12.

The Match

Olympiacos had a pretty strong start in the first quarter, playing tough defense, passing the ball and fighting for every possession. For Zenit, Austin Hollins was the main offensive weapon, starting the game with 3/3 three-pointers. With two free throws from Jean Charles, Olympiacos managed to get an early five-point lead (9-14) with five minutes remaining for the end of the first quarter. With Austin Hollins firing for three and Zenit playing great defense, the Russian club got the lead for the first time in the game (20-19) to end the first quarter.

Despite the fact that both coaches refreshed their starting lineup in the second quarter, none of the teams could find their way to the opponent’s basket. Gudaitis and Ellis scored two points each for their teams to make score in the second quarter (22-21). With their captain Vassilis Spanoulis on the court leading the team, Olympiacos managed to tie the game (25-25) and retain the lead with Vezenkov and five minutes remaining until the end of the first half in Russia. Two free throws from Shaquielle McKissic and an offensive foul from Gudaitis gave Olympiacos the chance to extend their lead (25-31) and bring some trouble to the Russian side. With a three-point play from Vassilis Spanoulis (27-35), Olympiacos forced Zenit to a time-out with coach Pascual seeing his players not functioning properly against a great defensive team. With a 5-20 score from the Greeks, both teams headed to the locker rooms with Olympiacos leading by 14 points (27-41).

Photo: Euroleague Basketball

At the beginning of the third quarter, both teams returned on the court scoring for three with Kevin Pangos for Zenit and Kostas Papanikolaou for Olympiacos (30-44). Zenit showed from the very first minutes that they will definitely fight for the game putting some extra pressure on Olympiacos by playing strong defense. The game became more physical, with both teams fighting for every rebound and every possession and Zenit bringing the game to a single digit difference for Olympiacos (36-44). Livio Jean-Charles and Hassan Martin were the players who managed to create score again for Olympiacos and give back the double-digit advantage to the Greeks (36-49). The Russians tried to come back on the game, but, with their confidence up high, Olympiacos ended the third quarter in front by 15, 43-58.

In the fourth and final quarter, Zenit fought back and made the game a single-digit game (53-60), putting pressure on the guests that seemed to be into much confusion. The home side brought the difference to a three-point lead for Olympiacos (60-63) with the game on the line and four minutes remaining. Sasha Vezenkov, with a big three-pointer, extended the lead for Olympiacos (60-66), forcing Zenit and coach Pascual to a time-out with three minutes remaining. A massive dunk from McKissic gave Olympiacos a safe eight-point lead (60-68). Zenit never managed to return back on the game and Olympiacos finished the quarter and got the win, 66-75.

The post Olympiacos sweeps Zenit St. Petersburg to return to winning ways appeared first on TalkBasket.net.

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