Greece grind out win against Great Britain
FIBA WORLD CUP 1ST QUAL. ROUND GROUP H - MATCHDAY 4
|Greece||75 - 70||Great Britain|
|(20 - 23)
(39 - 46)
(56 - 58)
(75 - 70)
Greece ensured they remain unbeaten on the road to the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China with a narrow in over Great Britain on Sunday night…
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Greece improved to 4-0 in qualifying for next summer’s FIBA World Cup on Sunday thanks to a nervy 75-70 win over Great Britain in Heraklion.
Despite trailing by as much as eight points on the night, Greece pulled-off a comeback late in the second half to remain unbeaten in their bid to reach the final tournament in China next summer.
Ioannis Bourousis led Greece with 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists on the night, as the Zhejiang Lions man came in the clutch to help Greece erase a seven-point halftime defecit.
Panagiotis Vassilopoulos also notched 15 points on the night, and while the AEK forward was one of many Greek players to struggle from three-point range, Vassilopoulos was somewhat automatic from mid-range as he finished the night with 6/9 shooting from two-point range.
Daniel Clark led Great Britain’s offense with 16 points, but the 29-year-old couldn’t keep his scoring rate up in the second half as Greece’s defense limited the British to 24 points combined in the final two quarters.
It was Britain who started more brightly out of the two sides in the first quarter as the bottom-side in the qualifying group took a 23-20 lead in the first quarter, before extending their lead to 46-39 by halftime.
Perhaps it was a motivational speech from Thanasis Skourtopoulos that got Greece rolling in the second half as the Ethniki’s defense began to shutdown Britain’s offense.
Cutting the deficit to just two points (58-56) heading into the final frame, Greece edged out a low-scoring final frame to edge the British and clinch a berth in the second round.
With the win in Heraklion, and Israel’s loss to Estonia, the Ethniki extended their lead at the summit in Group H to two points and should very likely clinch first place in the section on Matchday 5.
Greece’s campaign now takes a rest until late June when the group stage will conclude with road trips to Israel and Estonia – at which point Greece will look to solidify top spot in Group H.