ATHENS (Euroleague) - Lynn Greer hit a shot at the buzzer to lift Olympiacos to a 76-74 win at CSKA Moscow in the only upset on the opening night of Euroleague Quarter-Final action.
Narrowly beaten last week by Panathinaikos in the final of the Greek Cup, Panagiotis Yannakis’ team is now just one win away from a place in the Final Four that will be staged in Madrid next Month.
Greer, who played for Team USA at the 2005 FIBA Americas Championship and helped them qualifying for the FIBA World Championship in Japan, has been one of Europe’s most explosive scorers the past few years.
The former Temple Owl has also been one of the best at hitting shots when games hang in the balance.
The game was tied at 74-74 in the closing seconds when Greer made the game-winner.
Closely guarded by Nikos Zisis, a guard who will play for Greece national team boss Yannakis at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in July, Greer managed to free himself just enough to launch the game-winner.
"I had a great opportunity to take the last shot,” Greer said. “Zisis played very good defense, but I found the time to get the shot and score. It's a great feeling to decide a big game like that."
Yannakis, a legendary player who helped fire Greece to the 1987 European title, a result that created a huge wave of interest in basketball on the continent, has had the magic touch since replacing the sacked Pini Gershon shortly before the Euroleague Top 16.
He said there was no doubt as to which of his players was going to take the final shot.
“We managed to take the best possible shot on the last possession with the player I wanted to take responsibility,” he said.
Having reached six straight Euroleague Final Fours and most people’s pick to win the title this season, CSKA must now win in Greece on Thursday to force a deciding third game back in Moscow.
"It was a bad night for us, but we can beat Olympiacos away and be back for the third game,” Greer said. “They played an excellent game, especially Greer, who is more than the 50% of their power.”
Greer had 19 points and made six of his 10 shots from the floor, including two of five from three-point range.
The Reds were led by another American, however, in Qyntel Woods, who poured in 20 points and was eight of 12 from the field, including a perfect four of four from behind the arc.
The other three quarter-final openers went according to plan.
The Italian league’s defending champions and current leaders Montepaschi Siena defeated Fenerbahce 73-66.
Tau Ceramica were 74-66 winners at home over Partizan Belgrade and Maccabi Tel Aviv prevailed 81-75 at home over Barcelona.