Photo: Euroleague Basketball

After a dominant performance in the first half and an impressive defensive effort in the second, Olympiacos got a tough yet needed win away from home defeating Barcelona, 88-96, for Round 9. With 5 players in double digits, Kostas Sloukas with a double-double and Aaron Harrison playing a crucial defensive role in the fourth quarter, coach Bartzokas saw his players staying concentrated on their game plan forcing Barcelona to their third loss and first one at home.

Hassan Martin with 17 points was the top scorer for Olympiacos, with Shaquielle McKissic scoring 16 and Kostas Sloukas adding another 15 points and 10 assists. For Barcelona Nikola Mirotic had 16 points whilst Brandon Davies added another 15.

Olympiacos started the first quarter with a 5-0 point with Barcelona missing both of their three point efforts (0-5). Two consecutive baskets from Livio Jean-Charles extended Olympiacos lead to nine points (0-9) with Barcelona missing all of their field goals, forcing coach Jasikevicius to a time out. Barcelona had zero points (0/6 FG) in the first three minutes of the game, while Olympiacos had an outstanding performance in the first quarter (0-12). Mirotic was the man who created score for Barcelona with a triple (3-12) but Hassan Martin replied with the two-pointer and the foul (3-15). Charles Jenkins had an amazing start in the first quarter and scored another triple for Olympiacos, (4-18). Olympiacos seemed unstoppable from the perimeter while Kostas Papanikolaou scored another triple (6-21). Barcelona replied on that triple pretty quickly with the three pointer on the buzzer from Kuric (9-21). Barcelona improved their defense and scored some crucial points towards the end of the first quarter and ended it trailing by nine (17-26).

In the second quarter, Barcelona showed some shooting improvement but Olympiacos kept playing well and finding its way to the opponent basket pretty easily. Kyle Kuric with his sensational shooting brought the score to 31-37 with Adam Hanga adding another two to close the score even more (32-37). Barcelona had a chance to tie the game but McKissic with an impressive play took the score to 34-39. Youngster, Sergi Martinez made it a two point game for Olympiacos (38-40) but Martin was again the one who kept Olympiacos’ 4-point lead. McKissic with the triple stretched the lead back to 7 points for Olympiacos but Calathes had a reply for that with his own two point shot (40-45). Despite Barcelona’s effort to close the score and, maybe, get the lead, Olympiacos ended the first half leading by 4 points (47-51).

Photo: Euroleague Basketball

Ιn the third quarter, despite two free throws from Ellis, both teams had no field goals. Octavius Ellis did all the scoring for Olympiacos in the first minutes of the third quarter and gave his team an 8-point lead (47-55). Hanga with the big three created score for Barcelona in the second half taking down Olympiacos’ lead to 5 points (50-55). With Kostas Sloukas showing some leadership and scoring Olympiacos’ last 5 points, the Greeks extended their lead to double digits (50-60) with six minutes until the end of the quarter remaining. With coach Bartzokas seeing his players playing great and tough defense on Barcelona and Kostas Papanikolaou scoring for three, Olympiacos had the momentum in this third quarter despite Barcelona’s improvement (50-63). Barcelona did great on defense but struggled on the offensive side, being unable to find their way to the basket as easy as they wished. Hanga brought the difference back to single digits but not for long, with Martin scoring for two (54-65). Abrines scored his first three of the night keeping Barcelona as close to the score as possible. Olympiacos stayed calm and concentrated and managed to end the third quarter leading by 9 points (63-72).

In the fourth and final quarter, Barcelona started fighting back and with an unsportsmanlike foul from Olympiacos, Barcelona took the score down to 5 points (69-74). Bolmaro with the steal and the basket brought some interest back on the game forcing coach Bartzokas to a time-out (71-74). With Shaqielle McKissic hitting a much needed triple, Olympiacos extended their lead back to 6 points with Mirotic replying with his own two pointer (73-77). With the referees giving two free throws on Brandon Davies, Barcelona took the game to a single possession game to tie it later on with two points from Nikola Mirotic (77-77). Aaron Harrison scored for two and got the bonus free throw for Olympiacos to retain the 5-point lead for his team (77-82). Abrines with the big three refused to let Olympiacos take a safe lead and got the game back to two points difference (80-82). Harrison with the steal and the unsportsmanlike foul extended Olympiacos’ lead (82-86) with 2:30 minutes remaining until the end of the match. McKissic continued scoring from three, putting Barcelona to the tough position to cover a 7-point difference in 2 minutes. Two free throws from Davies was a great start for Barcelona but Harrison again with his great defensive performance prevented Barcelona from scoring more points. Nick Calathes scored two consecutive baskets bringing the difference to two points, but Olympiacos managed to get away with a tough, 88-96 ,win.