By: Jay Yeomans
Published: October 3, 2019
Jimmer Fredette opened up his first season in Europe’s top basketball league with a solid shooting day as Panathinaikos held on at home to knock off Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade in Athens on Thursday, 87-82.
The former BYU guard finished with 11 points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field, including 1-for-2 from beyond the arc and a perfect 4-for-4 from the foul line while adding a rebound and an assist in 25:16 on the court.
Nick Calathes led the way for the Greens in the win with 21 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the floor and 3-for-6 from 3-point range while handing out a game-high seven assists in 32:06. DeShaun Thomas also came up big in the opening-round victory with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and two assists while Tyrese Rice added 12 points and a pair of assists in 14:12 off the bench.
After a slow start, that saw them score just 14 points in the first period, the Greens really got things going in the second as they outscored Crvena Zvezda by five to take a 37-35 lead into the break. Fredette played a key role in the turnaround as he got four quick points late in the quarter which included a pair of free throws followed by a slick play where he split the double team before hitting a foul-line runner to push Panathinaikos ahead.
The Greek League power was even better in the third as they used a 29-point quarter to open up a 13-point lead with one period remaining. It was the best quarter offensively for Fredette who got an early basket when he put the ball on the floor and got to the rim for a tough lay-up. He followed it up with a nifty crossover move off a screen before he pulled up and connected on a triple.
The Jimmer Watch YouTube Channel shared some highlights of Fredette’s performance.
Crvena Zvezda was led by former Panathinaikos star James Gist who registered 22 points in his return to Athens on 9-for-20 shooting from the field while securing a team-best seven boards in 27:25.
Billy Baron also had a nice night with 15 points, six assists, and five rebounds while Stratos Perperoglou chipped in with 15 points, three rebounds, and three steals.
Thoughts on the game
While Fredette’s minutes went up from his first game in Greek League, they are nowhere close to what he (and we) are used to compared to his time in China. And, for that matter, neither were his touches. But with a completely loaded roster, a shorter game, and a wildly different style that is something that we will have to get used to.
With that being said, the key for Jimmer to have a good year is that he stretches the floor, makes good decisions, and knocks down open shots. That is exactly what he did today, and no doubt will continue to do moving forward.
Fredette and Panathinaikos are back on the court on Sunday as they return to Greek League action to face off with Lavrio who opened up its season with a 94-90 win.