Macijauskas leads Olympiacos to victory

Oct 26, 2007 - 10:33 AM VITORIA, Spain (Ticker) - Arvydas Macijauskas had a strong start to the Euroleague season, pouring in 21 points and coming up with seven steals as Olympiacos held on for a 95-90 victory over his former team, Tau Ceramica on Thursday.

Macijauskas, a shooting guard who rose to prominence as a member of Lithuania's gold medal-winning side at EuroBasket 2003, returned to Europe after a disappointing one-year stint with the New Orleans Hornets but missed most of the 2006-07 Olympiacos campaign with an Achilles injury.

Against Tau, Olympiacos built a 55-37 lead by halftime but the Spanish side stormed back to tie the contest, 65-65, late in the third quarter and even moved in front early in the fourth.

Trailing 78-77, the Greeks went on an 11-2 run with Macijauskas and Qyntel Woods, who scored 19 points while pulling down five rebounds, providing much of the inspiration.

Pini Gershon's team held the lead the rest of the way.

"It is important to start the competition with a win and it is more important to win all the games at home," Gershon said. "Every game will be hard to win."

New signings Marc Jackson and Lynn Greer scored 21 and 20 points, respectively, for Olympiacos, who went 8-of-17 from the 3-point arc.

New Tau coach Neven Spahija, who succeeded Gershon at Maccabi Tel Aviv but lasted just one season in Israel, cited the defense as the cause of the setback.

"The problem is our defense," Spahija said. "Especially tonight, we had difficulties on defense in the first two quarters. We improved in the second half, but committed mistakes down the stretch and missed an opportunity to start the Euroleague season with a win."

In other games, Belgium international Axel Hervelle's 23 points led Real Madrid to an 80-72 win at Fenerbahce Ulker.

Real, the defending Spanish champions and winners of last year's ULEB Cup, played without Spain center Felipe Reyes because of a back injury.

Big summer signing, Greece national team center Lazaros Papadopoulos, had just six points, two rebounds and one blocked shot in more than 24 minutes.

The hard times continued at Armani Jeans Milano as they lost at home to Lietuvos Rytas, 83-76.

Earlier this week, the Italian club fired coach Zare Markovski after a 1-5 start, appointing former coach Attilio Caja.

Brose Baskets Bamberg lost at home to French champions Roanne 64-61.

Roanne got nine points and 11 rebounds from France's national team reserve center Pape Badiane while Marc Salyers added 14 points of his own.

Maccabi Tel Aviv claimed a thrilling, 74-71, home triumph over Le Mans in former Israel point guard great Oded Katash's first game at the helm.

Yotam Halperin, one of Israel's key men this year at the EuroBasket, had 18 points, nine assists and six rebounds and a key late steal as Maccabi Tel Aviv won 74-71 over Le Mans.

Le Mans had the ball in the final minute and were trying to hold on for the last shot but Halperin stripped Nebojsa Bogavac and fed Terence Morris for a lay-up for a 73-71 lead.

With the French team taking the ball to the other end in an attempt to pull level or take the lead, Halperin again came up with a steal and was fouled. He made one of two free throws with 3.3 seconds left in the game to cement the victory.

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