Dominant Papagiannis carries Panathinaikos over Zenit despite terrible start

2021-11-25 21:27

Credit: Vangelis Stolis
Credit Vangelis Stolis

Panathinaikos OPAP Athens (3-9) hosted Zenit St. Petersburg (8-4) at the OAKA Arena, edging out Xavi Pascual's squad 70-64 (15-23, 18-15, 20-10, 17-16).

Nemanja Nedovic increased the home team's lead to double digits in the final period (60-50). But Zenit answered with a 12-1 run to regain a fragile lead with 2:03 to go (62-61).

However, Giorgos Papagiannis and Nemanja Nedovic scored five consecutive points, and PAO were back in front (66-62). Mindaugas Kuzminskas scored two points on the other end, but Ioannis Papapetrou and Papagiannis converted four free throws that sealed a six-point victory.

Player of the Game
Georgios  Papagiannis
Georgios Papagiannis
Points 18
Accuracy 8-9
Rebounds 13
Assists 1

Zenit kicked off the match with an impressive 12-0 run, winning the first period by eight (23-15). But three straight 3-pointers by Panathinaikos tied the game at 28 in the second quarter.

However, Zenit didn't allow their opponents to get in front, responding with a 10-0 run, led by Mindaugas Kuzminskas (38-28). The hosts finished the half well, cutting their deficit to five going into the break (33-38).

Panathinaikos showed character in the third quarter, going on a 13-0 spurt and gaining a six-point cushion (46-40). They were up by five before the fourth quarter (53-48).

Giorgos Papagiannis led Panathinaikos with 18 points (8/9 2PT, 2/6 FT), 13 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 blocks, 2 turnovers, and 31 PIR.

“I just said the first half wasn’t very good for me," Papagiannis noted after the game. "I didn’t help my team at all. My teammates really got me back in the game. I tried to collect rebounds, first of all. And then we got a really important win for us.”

Mindaugas Kuzminskas was the most efficient player for Zenit, finishing with 13 points (4/7 2PT, 1/3 3PT, 2/2 FT), 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, and 14 PIR.

Yogi Ferrell was not on the roster for Panathinaikos. The guard might have played his last EuroLeague game last week against Zalgiris Kaunas.

Xavi Pascual was greeted with a round of applause upon entering the arena. Before tip-off, Pascual and his former assistants at Panathinaikos - current assistants at Zenit Inigo Zorzano and Diamantis Panagiotopoulos - were honored by PAO GM Frangiskos Alvertis.

Panathinaikos: Giorgos Papagiannis 18 (13 REB, 4 BLK), Nemanja Nedovic 18, Daryl Macon Jr. 11 (5 REB), Okaro White 8, Howard Sant-Roos 6.

Zenit: Jordan Loyd 15, Conner Frankamp 14, Mindaugas Kuzminskas 13 (8 REB), Jordan Mickey 9, Alex Poythress 7.


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