Ionikos kept their slim FIBA Europe League play-off hopes alive tonight with a road win against Belgian team Pepinster.
Belgian coach Eddie Casteels was forced to take a timeout after just 3 minutes of action with his side trailing 0-10. Despite the poor start, Pepinster came back and tied the contest at 21-21 after 10 minutes.
Pepinster retained the momentum into the second period and led by as many as 8-points, before a 3-pointer from Clarence Gilbert gave Ionikos as three-point lead at the half, 43-46.
Gilbert opened the third quarter with two long range bombs and eight consecutive points from Apostolos Koutroulias allowed Ionikos to open up a 13-point lead. Gilbert was particularly hot for Ionikos in just his second game of FIBA Europe League action. The 188 cm guard hit 10/16 shots, including 8/13 three-pointers, for a game high 30 points.
With Ionikos retaining the hot hand from behind the arc, Pepinster struggled to get back into the game. The home side trailed 56-73 after 30 minutes and could get no closer in the fourth period.
Eddie Casteels, Head Coach Pepinster:
"Gilbert is an important player for a team. To stop him you need to play great team defense. He is a clever player who can shoot and find the open man. I’m satisfied with the return of G. Van Dorpe. Douthit had some good moments and can improve a lot."
Giorgios Zevgolis, Head Coach Ionikos:
"I was impressed by the atmosphere in this gym. A warm but fair audience. The 1st half was close, each team took the lead several times. The score at half time was logical. We took the advantage in the second part of the game because of our 3-point shots. I think that they made the difference. It’s an important win for us because it will give us a new spirit for the championship."