Despite a sloppy first half with many turnovers and nerves, Olympiacos made an impressive comeback from 15 down to get the win against ALBA Berlin, 75-71, on Thursday night (12/11). The Germans had an ideal first half, controlling the rebounds, playing great defense and putting pressure to the Greek side. Shaquielle McKissic, Livio Jean-Charles and captain Vassilis Spanoulis led the way and pushed Olympiacos to an impressive win.
Shaquielle McKissic was the top scorer for Olympiacos with 14 points, whilst Livio Jean-Charles added 13 and Sasha Vezenkov 11. For ALBA Berlin, Niels Giffey was the leading scorer with 13 points with Johannes Thiemann and Maodo Lo following with 10 points each.
In the first quarter, and after three minutes with both teams unable to score, ALBA didn’t take advantage of Olympiacos’ four turnovers as much as they could. With six minutes remaining for the end of the first quarter, ALBA was leading 0-4 despite Olympiacos’ inability to score. With a three-point shot from Marcus Eriksson, ALBA extended their lead to seven points (0-7) forcing coach Bartzokas to his first time out. With Kostas Papanikolaou creating score for the hosts right after the time out, Olympiacos ended the first quarter trailing by 12 points (10-22) and having eight turnovers in just one quarter.
In the second quarter, Shaquielle McKissic was the one trying to tie things up and help Olympiacos become more competitive. More turnovers and ALBA’s great defense didn’t let that happen with the Greek club unable to become competitive against the Germans. ALBA did their part very well, played great defense and didn’t let Olympiacos find its way to the basket. They secured their lead and ended the first half leading by 11 (24-35), keeping Olympiacos to 24 points.
Olympiacos came back from the locker rooms determined to perform better, protect the ball, grab the rebounds and find score. Coach Bartzokas saw his players returning on the game and with a three-point play from Kostas Sloukas got the score to 33-37. ALBA started committing some unforced errors that gave Olympiacos the opportunity to play the basketball they wanted and put extra pressure on the guests. After two free throws from Livio Jean-Charles, we got a two-point game for ALBA, which became a single-point game after Olympiacos’ great passing ability and McKissic’s big three (38-39). The team from Piraeus got the lead for the first time in the match (45-44) with a two-point shot from Livio Jean-Charles. Spanoulis extended the lead for Olympiacos to four points (48-44), started a completely new game with high intensity and ended the third quarter leading by seven (51-44) with another three-pointer from Spanoulis.
With four consecutive points from ALBA Berlin, the fourth quarter started with both teams fighting for the win (51-48). ALBA made it a single point game, but with a three-point play from Livio Jean-Charles, Olympiacos got back a short four-point lead (56-52) with seven minutes remaining. With their confidence up high, Olympiacos never looked back with it’s players scoring one after the other and ALBA Berlin unable to find any solutions (66-54). Olympiacos was determined to take the game and managed to get away with the win, 75-71.