Panathinaikos OPAP was close to a massive comeback from 25 points down but Zenit St.Petersburg, led by Gudaitis’ 25 points, survived in Athens and left OAKA with a 77-89 win, on Thursday night (7/1). Panathinaikos had coach Charalampidis on their bench after Giorgos Vovoras’ departure from the Greek club.
The Lithuanian big man, Arturas Gudaitis, was the top scorer for the guests with 25 points while he reached 1000 points in the Euroleague. Kevin Pangos has another productive night, helping his team get the win with 18 points. For the hosts, Ioannis Papapterou was the leading scorer with 14 points, while Dinos Mitoglou added 13.
Panathinaikos opened the score in the first quarter with two points from Marcus Foster with Zenit replying with 4 consecutive points (2-4). Kevin Pangos started the game strong with 4 points, to give his team the first 5-point lead of the match (4-9). Gudaitis extended his team’s lead to 6 points (5-11) with George Papagiannis scoring 2 points for Panathinaikos to take the difference down to 4 points (7-11). Aaron White with the basket and the extra free throw brought Panathinaikos back on the game pretty quickly but Zenit showed some great passing game and extended their lead to 9 points (9-18) with 2:30 minutes, until the end of the quarter, remaining. Kevin Pangos with two free throws brought Zenit’s lead to double digits for the first time in this first quarter (9-20). Dinos Mitoglou replied with a pair of free throws (11-20) but Panathinaikos needed a lot more than that in order to get back on the game. Ioannis Papapetrou with the jump shot brought Panathinaikos back within 7 points while Billy Baron made sure his team keeps a safe lead by the end of the quarter (13-23). Zenit was in control of the game, ending the first ten minutes of the match leading by 10 points (16-26).
In the second quarter, Zenit extended their lead to 17 points pretty fast with Billy Baron, while Panathinaikos was unable to find their way to the basket and become more competitive forcing Panathinaikos’ bench to a time out early in the second quarter (16-33). Ben Bentil registered Panathinaikos’ first 6 points with consecutive baskets, taking the difference down to 13 points (20-33). Nedovic with the triple, his first three points of the night, brought Panathinaikos back within ten points (23-33), forcing coach Pascual to a time out. Ponitka missed the chance for an easy basket, while Ben Bentil on the other end of the court took the difference to single digits with an impressive dunk, right before Pangos fires another triple (27-38). With three minutes remaining and the difference to seven points for Zenit, Panathinaikos strengthen their defense, put the ball inside the paint and became more competitive. Papagiannis with the dunk made the score 33-42, right before Zenit replied with a triple from Fridzon (33-45). The two teams headed to the locker rooms with Zenit leading by 12 points at the end of the second quarter, (35-47).
Thomas opened the score in the second half for Zenit with his second triple of the match, extending his team’s lead to 15 points (35-50). Panathinaikos were missing their opportunities to score while Zenit and Kevin Pangos continued scoring with ease (35-53). Papapetrou with the dunk, scored Panathinaikos’ first two points in the second half while Papagiannis with the block stopped Zenit from scoring two more (37-53). The big man of Panathinaikos was the one who was keeping the Greeks alive in the second half with Zenit’s lead extended between 18-20 points (41-61). Thomas led Zenit to their largest lead of the match (23 points) halfway the third quarter while Panathinaikos was finding score from two players (44-66). Zenit kept playing great basketball until the end of the quarter and extended their lead to 22 points (54-76).
Mitoglou opened the score in the fourth quarter for the “greens” scoring two points, while Panathinaikos missed several chances to score more. Nedovic with the huge dunk brought the difference back to 15 points with coach Pascual calling a time out seeing his team losing their 20+ points lead (63-78). Austin Hollins stopped Panathinaikos comeback with an easy two point basket, while Dinos Mitoglou on the other end scored four more and his teammate, Bochoridis, made the steal (68-80). Pangos and Gudaitis continued their perfect cooperation, with the Lithuanian center scoring the basket and getting the extra free throw (69-84), with three minuted until the end of the match remaining. Bochoridis with his two free throws took the difference down to 14 points but time was not a friend of Panathinaikos (71-84). Mitoglou stole the ball to knock down the triple and bring back the difference to single digits (75-84). Zenit managed to stay calm and concentrated, retained their lead, and won the match, 77-89.