By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Bojan Dulbjevic (20 points, nine rebounds) made the start and then passed the torch to Derrick Williams (13 out of his season-high 16 points in the last 13 minutes) as Valencia beat Olympiacos Piraeus 96 – 85 on the road to grab its first away win over the Greek side since 2003.
Olympiacos, which was missing forward Kostas Papanikolaou and saw co-captain Giorgos Printezis leaving to the locker room early with injury, suffered its first loss after two straight victories on the road. Kostas Sloukas (18 points, seven assists), Shaq McKissic (16 points), Livio Jean-Charles (14 points, seven rebounds) and Sasha Vezenkov (14 points, seven rebounds) scored in double figures from the Reds.
However, Valencia was even better with seven players in double-digits and as Derrick Williams said: “That means that we have really a good team, from top to bottom. It doesn’t matter who starts, we have lots of guys in this team that can really play, whoever’s name is called, is ready to play as you could see tonight. I’m trying to prime myself especially in the fourth, because when it comes to winning time, at the end of the day the only motivation you need is winning, when it comes to winning you want to give all you have to the team.”
Nikola Kalinic and Mike Tobey contributed 12 points apiece for Valencia that imposed its rhythm early by dominating the rebounds and making the most out of its transition opportunities with 16 fast-break points to finish the first half up 39 – 52.
Each time Olympiacos tried to react and cut the deficit to single digits, Valencia got an answer and preserved a solid advantage. Dubljevic scored quick points and hit the triple for the 44 – 60 and after he went to the bench, Williams took over. The American forward drained back-to-back 3-pointers as the “Taronja” grabbed their biggest lead in the game, 54 – 71 with three minutes to play in the third period.
Olympiacos coach George Bartzokas didn’t hide his discontent: “We said that the approach in today’s game was to be physical, we had to play aggressive and the only physical team was Valencia. My job is not to create the potential of the team, the potential exists, this is obvious because you can see the game against Barcelona. We played well, we are a good team. But the attitude, the fighting spirit, the things we need to do to win the game, that’s my responsibility. I don’t know how long it will take, in which persons I have to base on, but sooner or later I will find out.”
Jean-Charles scored for the 72 – 80 but then Olympiacos missed a couple of chances to go closer. In the meantime, Valencia put the finishing touch thanks to a 3 – 8 run down the stretch that put them up 76 – 90 with 2:40 to play.