Olympiacos Piraeus arrived to Mediolanum Forum in Milan on Friday still in search of its first road win in the current Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season.
Until that moment, Olympiacos was 7-0 at home but 0-4 on the road, and now had to face AX Armani Exchange Milan in Round 12, a team that made it to the Final Four last season. Olympiacos came off a tough home loss in Greek League action, too, against none other than its archrival, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens.
Far from being intimidated, Olympiacos had a stellar performance in Milan, registering a 73-92 road victory and breaking several club records, which is saying something for a team with 530 games in the competition. The Reds had two very different halves. They hit 12 three-pointers out of 16 attempts and scored 60 points before the break. After it, the defense took over and limited Milan to just 27 points in the last 20 minutes. Offense, and then defense, gave Olympiacos its first road win.
Olympiacos reached the 60-point mark right before halftime when Tony Dorsey hit a pair of free throws. The Reds scored 7 of 11 two-point shots and tied a EuroLeague record for most three-pointers in a half, 12, in 16 attempts. CSKA Moscow previously scored 12 three-pointers before halftime against Cedevita Zagreb on December 5, 2014. Olympiacos added 10 of 11 free throws, completing a stellar first 20 minutes. The club’s previous record was 59 points in the first half against FC Bayern Munich in 2013 and Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz in 2014.
Olympiacos hit 7-of-7 three-pointers to build an 18-30 margin. Milan bounced back, powered by Shavon Shields and Kyle Hines, who seemed to have a momentum-switching play with a huge block on Shaquielle McKissic’s dunk attempt. Hines, a two-time EuroLeague champion with Olympiacos, soon scored at the other end to tie it at 33-33.
Olympiacos did not panic, as Hassan Martin and Giannoulis Larentzakis fueled a 0-10 run that gave the Reds the lead for good. Once in the second half, Milan adjusted its defense and Olympiacos cooled off from beyond the arc. Still, the visiting shooters buried 6 more shots from downtown to set another club record.
The Reds made 18 three-point shots total. Larentzakis downed five, Dorsey hit four, Sasha Vezenkov and Kostas Papanikolaou each hit 2 shots from deep while Georgios Printezis, Shaquielle McKissic and Thomas Walkup also contributed to the record with one three-pointer apiece. Olympiacos’s previous club record was 16 three-point shots made, against Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz in 2016 and Khimki Moscow Region in 2020.
“It was a team effort, completely, today because we had a great offensive performance in the first half and a very good defensive performance, in my opinion, in the second half,” Olympiacos head coach Georgios Bartzokas said. “We controlled the pace of the game, which is always very important playing against Milan.”
Larentzakis led the way with 18 points, a new career high. He buried 5-of-9 three-pointers. Before this game, Larentzakis had hit 12-of-37 shots from downtown (32.4%).
“We wanted to react, and I think that we had a really good performance on offense. But we made a very good job on defense, also,” Larentzakis said after the game. “It is important because it gives us better psychology right now. We work well every day, every practice. We are doing a good job and I am very happy about this win.”
Olympiacos has a chance to keep adding more road wins right away, as it plays its next two games far away from Piraeus, against UNICS Kazan in Round 13 and Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade in Round 14.