Olympiacos rallies past Efes to storm into playoffs!
In an epic battle that neither team led by more than 6 points through the first 35 minutes, Olympiacos Piraeus owned the finish to take an 86-75 victory over visiting Anadolu Efes Istanbul and punch its ticket to the playoffs on Thursday.
Despite playing without three injured regulars - Vassilis Spanoulis, Kostas Sloukas and Brent Petway - Olympiacos raised its record to 9-3 in Top 16 Group F and assured its place in the next round. Efes dropped to 5-7 but stayed tied for the fourth and final playoff spot.
The game was marked by Dusan Ivkovic coaching from the Peace and Friendship Stadium visiting bench in a Euroleague game for the first time since he and Olympiacos won their second title together in 2012. His Efes team put up a battle that featured 10 lead changes and 10 ties during the first three-and-a-half quarters as Stratos Perperoglou matched his career high with 5 three-pointers against his former team. But Olympiacos found a spark in Ioannis Papapetrou, who had played just 12 minutes in two games this season before Thursday. His 10 points in 5 minutes to start the final quarter rallied the Reds offense to score 33 points in that quarter on the way to victory.
Oliver Lafayette led the winenrs with 17 points, while Georgios Printezis scored 14 and pulled 12 rebounds, matching his career high on the boards. Papapetrou added 12 points, Othello Hunter and Vangelis Mantzaris 10 each. Perperoglou led Efes with 23, while Nenad Krstic added 12 and Dario Saric 10 plus 10 rebounds.
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