In this evening's Group B match up of the FIBA Europe League, Ionikos traveled to the Ukraine to take on Azovmash. In sticking to tradition, the home team yet again started out slow and found themselves down by five points after two minutes of play thanks to two three-pointers by Georgios Giannouzakos.
After a couple of successful substitutions by Coach Serhiy Zavalin (Azovmash), the home team was able to take a two-point lead in the middle of the quarter. By the end of the first quarter, they had increased their advantage to six points (27-21).
Azovmash carried their momentum into the second quarter, and built up a 15-point lead over the guests (42-27). At this point Coach Zeygolis (Ionikos) signaled for a timeout in hopes of refocusing his team. Whether it was his inspiring words or the fact that Azovmash's dance team performed the national Greek dance, the guests came out hot and dropped nine points in a minute and a half of play. The home team was unable to answer this run, and saw their lead trimmed to six points (51-45) at the end of the first half.
In the second half of play Azovmash was led by center Arthur Long. He was a large factor on defense, where he left little room for the Greek inside players to maneuver. The highlight of his offensive game was when he went coast to coast after making a defensive steal, and finished off the play with an authoritative dunk.
Ionikos was able to hang in the game due to their productive outside shooting (13-24), but in the fourth quarter the Greeks tired and lost by a score of 95-88.
Georgios Zeygolis, head coach Ionikos:
"I think the game was good especially for the fans. We did not play as well as we can in the first fifteen minutes, but finally we caught up with Azovmash. Then Art Long made the difference and played well in defense and in offence as well. Besides, our players were pretty tired after our victorious game in the National championship and we have much more coming up."
Serhiy Zavalin, head coach "Azovmash":
Honestly speaking, I worried a lot about this game for I knew the high level of the Greek championship. Though, we watched the tape of "Ionikos", discussed all their systems and I believe, succeeded in finding "cures". I would love to thank all the guys on court and on the bench as well for they gave lots of positive emotions during the game and showed real team spirit. That s just how we should play and win next games. Just be a team..."