With Crvena Zvezda playing without their leading scorer, Jordan Loyd, Crvena Zvezda secured a dramatic, 74-71 win over Panathinaikos on Wednesday night (30/12). The players of coach Vovoras fought back, tied the game but the hosts stayed calm, made the free throws and got away with the win.
Corey Walden was the top scorer for the Serbians with 17 points with Quino Colom adding 13. Ioannis Papapetrou was the man of the match for Panathinaikos with 20 points while Nemanja Nedovic had another solid performance with 16 points.
In the first quarter, Crvena Zvezda started with a turnover from Kuzmic giving Panathinaikos the opportunity to open the score with Aaron White (0-3). Terrific defense from Panathinaikos, extending their lead with Shelvin Mack (0-6), in the first minutes of the game. Crvena Zvezda seemed trapped and unable to find their way to the basket easily. Kuzmic registered the first two points for his team, after making two free throws (2-6). Papagiannis was dominant on the defensive end of the court, giving the opportunity to his teammate, Papapetrou, to extend Panathinaikos’ lead to six points (4-10). Dobric with the triple took the difference down to three points for Crvena Zvezda (7-10) halfway the first quarter. O’Bryant tied the game for the hosts right after the time out with the triple, (10-10), while Walden gave the hosts their first lead of the match a few seconds later (13-10). Nedovic scored his first three points of the match, tying the game for Panathinaikos with the triple, before Walden replied with back-to-back threes for Crvena Zvezda (19-13). The hosts were hustling for every single possession with Walden being unstoppable and registering third consecutive triple for Crvena Zvezda (22-13) forcing coach Vovoras to a time out. Panathinaikos managed to score two more points, ending the first quarter trailing by seven points (22-15).
The hosts opened the second quarter with another triple, this time from Jagodic-Kurizda extending their lead to double digits (25-15) while Nedovic buried another triple for Panathinaikos (27-18). Good hustle play by Papagiannis who grabbed the offesive rebound and completed a three point play scoring two points and having an extra free throw (29-23). Crvena Zvezda seemed unstoppable from the perimeter, with Colom scoring back-to-back threes and registering six points for the hosts, right before Dobric scored his second triple of the night (38-25). The hosts secured their lead in the second quarter and headed to the locker rooms with a nine point lead (48-37).
After almost five minutes of play in the second half, one free throw from the hosts and several missed attempts, Bentil scored the first field goal of the quarter for Panathinaikos (49-39). Reath replied for the hosts pretty quickly with a triple (52-39) to take the two teams to a time out. Mitoglou’s two pointer was a breath of fresh air for Panathinaikos, trying to return on the game right before Kaselakis’ big triple (57-45). Τhat was pretty much it for the third quarter, with both teams unable to score and Crvena Zvezda ending the third quarter leading by 11 points (57-46).
Nemanja Nedovic had to lead his team to a comeback in the fourth quarter, with the Serbian starting this last ten minutes of the match with two points with Sant-Roos adding two more (57-50). Walden didn’t let the greeks come any closer and scored two points extending his team’s lead to 9 points (59-50). Nedovic with the steal and the dunk took the difference down to 7 points with 6 minutes until the end of the match remaining (59-52). The hosts were always able to respond in Panathinaikos’ fightback with Colom scoring another triple, forcing coach Vovoras to a time out (62-52). Panathinaikos managed to take the difference down to single digits with Papapetrou in their last chance to come back on the game (62-54). Four points from Ioannis Papapetrou got the score to 65-57 before the captain of Panathinaikos fired the triple to make the game a two possessions one (68-62). Walden committed the turnover giving the guests the chance to return on the game but without any success. Papapetrou with the three point play, the basket and the extra free throw made the game a derby in Belgrade (68-65) and the difference down to three points. Deep three from Panathinaikos’ captain tied the game with the Serbians looking lost in these last minutes of the game (68-68). O’Bryant made both free throws for Crvena Zvezda (70-68) with Dobric stealing the ball and 15 seconds remaining. Walden scored two free throws, Papapetrou fired the triple but the hosts kept their home secure getting the win, 74-71.