Credit: Roman Kruchinin/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images
Credit Roman Kruchinin/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

A stellar performance by Sasha Vezenkov leads Olympiacos Piraeus (9-4) past UNICS Kazan (7-6) in a breathtaking overtime thriller 87-84 (17-20, 25-20, 17-22, 18-15, 10-7).

Player of the Game
Aleksandr  Vezenkov
EFF
36
Aleksandr Vezenkov
Points 22
Accuracy 6-10
Rebounds 7
Assists 3

Vezenkov showed Olympiacos why he is considered to be one of the best power forwards in the European game. The Bulgarian finished the match with 22 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, and 36 PIR. 

Led by Mario Hezonja, UNICS got off to a hot start leading by 7 (15-8), but Olympiacos did not back down and finished the first half leading by 2 (42-40).

With the teams tied at 72, a clutch three-pointer by Tyler Dorsey put Oly up by 3 with 2 minutes to go. A couple of unsuccessful tries to tie the game by UNICS were capped off by a fast break three by Isaiah Canaan.

After trading baskets, the teams headed to overtime tied at 77.

In the overtime, the Greek powerhouse showed its class. A clutch Vezenkov three-pointer followed by a deciding Kostas Sloukas free throw sealed the deal.

Speaking after the match, Vezenkov pointed out the sheer strength it took to take the victory. "They play very tough, with high intensity, and it was very tough for us."

The Bulgarian forward was delighted to capture the win: "I'm satisfied that I helped my team to win. The most important thing is winning, and we won in one very tough place, so I am happy for everybody, and we keep going."

Head coach Georgios Bartzokas was not ecstatic about his team's execution. "We made so many mistakes, it's like we try to commit suicide a lot of times during the game," the coach noted.

"We were leading in the score almost all the game and we had a lot of opportunities to finish it." Bartzokas was happy with the win, however. "To be honest, it's unexpected we would win the game [shooting] 24% on threes. But finally, we managed to win the game, so it's really important."

Giannoulis Larentzakis provided an unexpected spark off the bench for Olympiacos scoring 10 points, collecting 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 16 PIR.

UNICS were led by Lorenzo Brown who scored 21 points, grabbed 4 rebounds, and dished out 4 assists with 18 PIR.

UNICS: Lorenzo Brown 21 (9/12 2PT, 4 AST, 6 TO), Isaiah Canaan 20 (6/9 3PT), John Brown 11 (4/9 2PT), Mario Hezonja 11 (2/8 3PT, 7 REB, 4 AST, 4 STL).

Olympiacos: Aleksandr Vezenkov 22 (3/7 3PT, 7/7 FT, 7 REB, 5 STL), Konstantinos Sloukas 12 (3/5 3PT, 8 AST, 4 TO), Moustapha Fall 10 (5/7 2PT, 6 REB), Giannoulis Larentzakis 10 (1/6 3PT, 5/5 FT, 6 REB, 5 AST).

Full match highlights:

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2022-01-10
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Kazanės UNIKS
Pirėjo Olympiakos
44%
31/71
Field goals
44%
31/71
37
Rebounds
43
16
Assists
26
9
Steals
11
4
Blocks
3
75%
12/16
Free throws
80%
16/20

Best players

Lorenzo  Brown
21 PTS
9/14 FG
3/3 FT
Aleksandr  Vezenkov
22 PTS
6/10 FG
7/7 FT
Tonye  Jekiri
9 REB
6 DREB
3 OREB
Aleksandr  Vezenkov
7 REB
5 DREB
2 OREB
UNICS Kazan
Few players
4 As
Konstantinos  Sloukas
8 As
4 TO
27 MIN
Lorenzo  Brown
18 EFF
75% 2P%
0% 3P%
Aleksandr  Vezenkov
36 EFF
100% 2P%
43% 3P%