Tarik Black became the Greek Derby hero
Heading into Friday’s Greek Derby with Panathinaikos Athens, league leader Olympiacos Piraeus had cause for concern that controlling the paint might prove difficult. After all, big man Moustapha Fall – who bagged 19 points and 9 rebounds when the Reds won in Athens in December – was suffering from flu symptoms and it was unclear how much of a role he’d be able to play in Round 32.
Indeed, Fall was only able to make a modest contribution, providing a solid but unspectacular 8 points and 4 rebounds. But that didn’t matter, thanks to an outstanding performance from the man who alternated with Fall at the 5: Tarik Black.
The multi-club veteran, who is in his first season with Olympiacos, sparked his team in the second quarter when he embarked on a personal 9-0 run in the space of just 81 seconds, also adding a steal and a blocked shot to almost single-handedly keep his team competitive during a strong phase of the game for Panathinaikos.
He returned to the fore early in the fourth quarter, which started with the Greens mounting a 0-8 run but then saw Black break that momentum with a battling three-point play. And just to finish things off, Black turned a slender lead into a dominant position in the final stages, netting 3 more baskets in the final two and a half minutes, including – fittingly – another three-point play for the final score of the game.
Black ended the night with 21 points, by far his best yet in an Olympiacos uniform, as he brought to an end a 15-game run of only scoring in single digits. In fact, it was his second-best scoring performance in 76 appearances in the competition, only beaten by the 23 points he scored for Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv against Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul in April 2019. Black's display in the Greek Derby once again underlined the Reds' incredible strength in depth.
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