Panathinaikos Athens battled in all four quarters to capture a win in the semifinal of the Greek SuperCup against Kolossos Rhodes. Arturas Gudaitis and Derrick Williams led the team with 14 points each, Marius Grigonis added 13 in his debut.

Credit: Vangelis Stolis
Credit Vangelis Stolis

Panathinaikos Athens had to battle throughout the entire 40 minutes in the Greek SuperCup but ultimately captured a 72-67 (20-18, 16-14, 25-25, 11-10) win over Kolossos Rhodes to reach the final.

Rhodes started the game with a quick 9-2 run but Panathinaikos battled back and tied the game at the end of the quarter (15-15).

The momentum continued into the second quarter for PAO with the powerhouse building a solid 11-point lead in the middle of the quarter (31-20). However, that was when TJ Starks started to heat up.

The Rhodes guard finished the first half with 4 straight points and then continued his performance into the third quarter, basically carrying the team on his own shoulders. Starks quickly heated up to 20 points in just over a quarter but fouled out with 6 minutes to go in the game.

When it seemed like losing their leader was going to mark the end of the match, Rhodes continued to battle and tied the game (64-64). Panathinaikos turned the ball over with 23 seconds to go (70-66), leaving Rhodes a chance to narrow the deficit.

However, Panathinaikos played the last seconds better. Derrick Williams finished the inbounds play with an open dunk, Rhodes failed to convert their offensive possessions to points, and the Greek giant captured the win in the semifinal.

Panathinaikos played the match without Nate Wolters who is nursing a hip injury.

Derrick Williams and Arturas Gudaitis led the winners with 14 points each. Marius Grigonis added 13 points. It was the first game with Panathinaikos shirt for Grigonis and Mateusz Ponitka, who contributed with 7 points.

Rhodes leader TJ Starks was the top scorer of the match with 20 points on 9-for-13 shooting.

"First official game, lots of tension for the guys," Gudaitis said in the post-game TV interview. "You can see it from the free-throw percentages. With all the toughness on the court, we need to improve."

Panathinaikos shot 35 free throws to Rhodes' 10, making just 22 of them (62%).

"We are a new group of guys, new coach, new players, everything is new," Gudaitis continued. "It's too early to say [how we will look] but we're trying, we're working every day, and we'll see how it goes."

Panathinaikos will battle either against Olympiacos Piraeus or Promitheas Patras in the SuperCup final tomorrow.

Panathinaikos: Derrick Williams 14 (3/6 2PT, 1/4 3PT, 5/11 FT, 8 REB), Arturas Gudaitis 14 (3/3 2PT, 8/10 FT), Marius Grigonis 13.

Rhodes: TJ Starks 20 (8/11 2PT), Malik Osborne 14 (5/8 2PT, 10 REB).

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