Hosts Greece overcame an injury to Vlantimir Giankovits and a feisty Belgium team to win 66-55 and remain perfect at the U18 European Championship Men.
Giankovits went out midway through the first quarter but Zisis Sarikopoulos picked up the slack with 16 points and 12 rebounds and Konstantinos Sloukas also had 16 points as Greece topped Group A.
Giankovits returned to the Pyrgos gym late in the game and is expected to miss six weeks after fracturing a metatarsal bone in his right foot.
|Vlantimir Giankovits' injury affected his team-mates|
"We were all affected by the injury to our team-mate," said Sarikopoulos. "We learned in the second quarter that it was a serious injury and I had a hard time getting mentally back into the game."
Belgium were already destined for the relegation round but fought honourably against the hosts. Not one player scored in double figures for Frederic Wilmot's team though Senna Joselito Hounhanou had seven points, 11 rebounds and four assists.
Giankovits came out in fine form, scoring seven points in leading Greece to a 11-4 advantage early. It was 11-9 when Giankovits went out injured as he was taken to local hospital for x-rays. Greece led 17-9 after Leonidas Kaselakis's two straight baskets and Hounhanou's three-point play helped Belgium stay within 20-14 after one period.
Konstantinos Papanikolau drained a three-ball and a lay-up to push the gap to 25-14. But Belgium fought back into the game with Hounhanou and Quentin Serron both scoring consecutive baskets to knot the game at 28-28. Five scoreless possessions allowed Greece to pull ahead 39-32 at the break.
Three-balls by Yannick Moray, Thomas De Thaey, Maarten Rademakers and Lorenzo Giancaterino kept Wilmot's team in the game 50-46 after three periods. Rademakers made another three-ball to cut the deficit to 52-51 with less than eight minutes left. But Papanikolau and Sloukas took over in regaining a 10-point gap 61-51. Sloukas would also put back his own miss and then drain a three-pointer to end all doubts.