PAOK paid for a terrible beginning in the game and lost to AEK 75-84 in the first leg of the playoffs game for the Basketball Champions League. PAOK was trailing by 24 at the end of the first quarter, but managed to shrink the difference finding strength in the amazing atmosphere created by almost 5,500 fans. Qualification will be decided in the second game of March 13, at the OAKA.
AEK made a much better start in the game, surprising PAOK and leading 4-28 at 7’. PAOK closed in at 11-30 at the end of the first quarter with score by Milenko Tepic and William Hatcher.
The situation was reversed in the second quarter, with PAOK finding score by the hand of Phil Goss and captain Vangelis Margaritis, making a five point game at 16’ (32-37). AEK nevertheless kept the lead and the margin went to +9 (36-45) with Vince Hunter being the face of the team with 10 points and 10 rebounds by the end of the first half.
AEK was better in the third quarter and relying on its defense, not only maintained the difference, but brought it once again to the levels of the first quarter, leading 46-65 at 30’.
In the fourth quarter, PAOK found strength in the support of the fans and with Antonis Koniaris (who finished the game having scored 18 points) leading the counter attack, succeeded in closing the gap to -9 (75-84), thanks to a three by the young guard at the final buzzer.
Τhe quarters: 11-30, 36-45, 46-65, 75-84
PAOK: Jefferson 12, Chrysikopoulos 4, Koniaris 18 (4), Tepic 15 (3), Μargaritis 7 (1), Ζaras 3 (1), Hatcher 4, Garrett 6, Goss 6 (1)
ΑΕΚ: James, Σάκοτα 16(3), Maciulis 9 (3), Larentzakis 4, Μoraitis, Τheodore 8, Sant-Roos 14 (2), Griffin 13 (1), Giannopoulos, Hunter 20