Champs edge lowly Zagreb, Euroleague round-up

Olympiacos were victorious at home as they defeated Cedevita Zagreb 79-77 to go to 2-2 in Group C.

Vassilis Spanoulis led the Euroleague champions with 21 points and seven assists, helped by Kostas Papanikolaou who added 14 points. It was Kostas Sloukas though who turned out to be the late difference maker, as his three-point play and two free-throws in the final minute sealed the win.

“Every victory is important and we don’t underestimate it,” Olympiacos coach Georgios Bartzokas said afterwards.

“I hope that we will deal with the pressure and we will play our game soon. Josh Powell is coming and he will help us find the balance we need. It is important to play better defence and to forget that we are the reigning Euroleague champions.”

Papanikolaou added: “Yes we are under pressure and we have to deal with it. The victory is important and must make us happy, but from the other side we are not satisfied by our performance.”

Miro Bilan led the Croatian side, who slip to 0-4 with 16 points.

Montepaschi Siena secured their first win in the Euroleague following a 93-90 home victory over Elan Chalon.

Bobby Brown led the charge with a fantastic individual display, scoring 34 points for the Italian champions.

Elan Chalon, who fall to 1-3 let another lead slip away as they enjoyed a double-digit cushion in the second quarter before a Brown-inspired 14-4 run in the third tied the game before Siena edged a nerve-racking fourth quarter.

Sheldon Williams had 28 for the French side.

“We are really happy for the win. It was very important for us because we didn’t start well this Euroleague and tonight was very important to win. Chalon is a good team and it was a very tough game,” Brown said.

CSKA Moscow kept their unbeaten start to the Euroleague going with a comfortable 85-58 success over Besiktas.

After leading 44-32 at half-time, the Russians further stamped their authority on proceedings with a 24-9 third period to stretch the lead even more and doom the Turkish side to back-to-back defeats.

Sonny Weems and Nenad Krstic both scored 18 to lead CSKA. Muratan Guler was the only Besiktas player in double figures as he posted 12.

BC Khimki continued their winning home run with a 75-65 win over Union Olimpija to go to 2-2.

Vitaly Fridzon led the Russians with 20 points. Australian Aron Baynes scored 27 to lead all scorers for the Slovenians.

Brose Baskets grabbed their first win in the Euroleague following an 84-78 win over Lietuvos Rytas. Bostjan Nachbar and Anton Gavel both hit 22 to lead the Germans while Renaldas Seibutis got 24 points for the Vilnius side.

Nachbar said: “We feel relieved. The first win is always the hardest one. In previous games I don’t think that we played well enough to deserve the win. But tonight we definitely did and I’m happy that we won in front of the home crowd against a team we will fight for a ticket to the Top 16.”