By Eurohoops Team/ email@example.com
Panathinaikos Athens came back from down 15 points late in the first half to ultimately beat Olimpia Milano 80 – 77 on the road. The Greens trailed for almost 39 minutes before going up in crunch time and getting their fourth win this season in EuroLeague.
Milano, that was missing leading scorer and passer Sergio Rodriguez, fell to 6-4.
“Honestly it felt like just another game,” Panathinaikos‘ top scorer Nemanja Nedovic said after dropping 16 points against his former team, while making some big-time plays down the stretch. “Maybe if the fans were here it would be different, but it is what it is. It’s a great win for us. Milano is one of the top teams this year in EuroLeague and to win here is a great accomplishment.”
Nedovic scored seven points in less than three minutes of the fourth period and then Ioannis Papapetrou (14 points) hit the go-ahead 3-pointer for the 75 – 76 with, Panathinaikos’ first lead in the game with 1:12 to play. Shavon Shields answered with mid-range jumper but that was the last Milano would score in the game.
George Papagiannis dunked the ball via a lobe by Nedovic to put the Greens up for good. Milano misfired in consecutive jump shots, first by Malcolm Delaney and then by Shields while their opponents retained their lead.
Delaney was leading Milano’s efforts in the first half with 12 points but lost his connection to the basket after the break, finishing with 14. Kevin Punter had 16 points and Shields 13 for the “Red Shoes” that were coming off a rout over Alba Berlin.
“We played a disgraceful second half defensively, giving up 50 points,” Milano coach Ettore Messina said. “And on offense, we were without creativity as the low number of assists demonstrates. Too many times we stopped the ball which is not a good thing to do against a big team like Panathinaikos.”
A complete transformation
Panathinaikos coach Giorgos Vovoras explained how his team turned the switch after getting crushed by ASVEL on Tuesday.
“The big improvement was our mentality,” Vovoras said. “In 48 hours we totally changed our mentality. As I said in the locker room, if you want to win, especially away, you have to play for 40 minutes. 25 or 30 is not enough. Tonight we fought for 40 minutes, we made the small details and we won.”
Photo: EuroLeague Basketball