ATHENS – After a bomb scare, Panathinaikos lost 80-67 to explosive Spanish power Barcelona in a meaningless Euroleague group encounter.
The 15,000 Panathinaikos fans at the stands were forced out at half-time as the sniffer dogs came in to ensure the phone call about a bomb was no more than just a hoax, Kathimerini said.
Spooked by the incident, Barcelona’s players almost refused to return while half the stadium emptied out in fear before police didn’t find any device.
A shaken Barcelona, which led 40-23 at the half, seemed discombobulated in the third period, letting the Greens crawl abck to within 53-47 behind DeMarcus Nelson.
Recovering its poise, Barcelona grouped to run away with the win at the end and finish in first in the group, leaving the limping Greek power Panathinaikos in third after playing without injured guards Lefteris Bochoridis and captain Dimitris Diamantidis. Antonis Fotsis led the team with 14 points.
The two teams will meet again in the second group stage of the Euroleague as they are in the same pool of eight teams that also features Real Madrid, Euroleague champ Maccabi Tel Aviv, Galatasaray, Alba Berlin, Zalgiris Kaunas and Red Star Belgrade.
In the other group Olympiakos will face CSKA Moscow, Malaga, Armani Milano, Anadolu Efes, Fenerbahce Ulker, Laboral Kutxa and Nizhny Novgorod.