Greece cruise against Estonia in FIBA Qualifying
FIBA WORLD CUP 1ST QUAL. ROUND GROUP H - MATCHDAY 3
|Greece||87 - 75||Estonia|
|(20 - 18)
(35 - 29)
(61 - 42)
(87 - 75)
Greece improved to 3-0 in their qualifying campaign for the 2019 FIBA World Cup following a comfortable win over Estonia on Friday night…
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Greece took another step towards the 2019 FIBA World Cup on Friday night, with a comfortable 87-75 win over Estonia at the Dyo Aorakia Indoor Hall in Heraklion.
Despite several would-be starters missing for Greece yet again due to the ongoing tension between FIBA and the EuroLeague, Greece didn’t miss a beat as the Ethniki improved to 3-0 following earlier defeats of Great Britain and Israel in November.
Ioannis Bourousis led the way for Greece with 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists on the night. Meanwhile, AEK’s Panagiotis Vassilopoulos also had a strong shooting night for Greece as shot 3/3 from three-point range and finished with 17 points.
Sten Sokk led all Estonia scorers with 16 points, but the visitors couldn’t match Greece’s ability to score by committee with the Estonian bench finishing the night outscored 34-21.
Both teams kept each other in check in the early going, though Greece did emerge from the first quarter with a slim lead (20-18).
The Ethniki would pad that lead in the second frame, but both defensive units dominated as both sides combining for just 26 points in the second quarter.
Holding a 35-29 lead at halftime, Greece piled on the pressure in the third quarter to open up a 19-point lead (61-42).
Even with Greece coach Thanasis Skourtopoulos utilizing more of his bench in the fourth quarter, Estonia were unable to make many inroads as Greece still held their double-digit lead in the fourth quarter despite a 33-26 run from Estonia in the final frame.
The win sees Greece remain on top of Group H of the European qualifying zone and on track to advance to the second round, though Skourtopoulos and company will be hoping to keep their winning momentum going when Great Britain visit Heraklion on Sunday.
Estonia, meanwhile, still have it all to do in the group as they fall to 1-2 with the defeat and will look to rebound at home against Israel on Sunday.