Panellinios Survive Kyiv Comeback


BC Kyiv nearly came back from a 27-point first-leg defeat at Panellinios in the EuroCup Qualifying Round 2 tie but managed only a 96-72 triumph on Tuesday.

By prevailing 168-165 on aggregate, the Greek team progressed to the EuroCup.

If Kyiv fans wondered whether their club would make things interesting beforehand, they had their answer from the off.

Sasa Obradovic's men reeled off the first 14 points of the game and went on to outscore Panellinios 31-13 in the opening frame to reduce the overall deficit to just nine.

The visitors appeared to get to grips with the game in the second quarter, clawing the deficit in the contest to just eight before James Penn's two free throws gave Kyiv a 42-32 lead at the break.

Jovo Stanojevic and Penn, with a three-ball, scored seven straight points at the start of the third quarter to open up a 49-32 Kyiv lead, leaving Kyiv trailing by 10 on aggregate.

However, Panellinios closed the gap again to 10 in the contest at 60-50 by the end of the third quarter.

With less than six minutes left, Georgios Kalaitzis made a lay-up to reduce the arrears to 67-59 and the Greek side looked home and dry.

But Brindley Wright connected from long range to start a 15-0 run for Kyiv which gave them an 82-59 advantage with 1:35 to go.

That meant they trailed by just four on aggregate.

The visitors, however, made 12 free throws in the last 51 seconds - seven by  former Greece national team guard Kalaitzis - to avoid losing by too many points on the night.

Kalaitzis  and Anthony Grundy each had 14 points for Panellinios.

Penn finished with 25 and Manuchar Markoishvili 22 for Kyiv.

The hosts were 29 of 31 at the free throw line compared to 29 of 38 for the Greek team.

Kyiv forced Panellinios to turn the ball over 25 times.

Kalaitzis was guilty of seven of those.

Kalaitzis and Obradovic, meanwhile, renewed acquaintances, after both played against each other at the 1998 FIBA World Championship in Athens.

Yugoslavia and Obradovic beat Kalaitzis and Greece in the semi-finals and went on to capture the gold medal by defeating Russia.

Team USA, meanwhile, overcame the Greeks to claim the bronze medal.