Greece Squeeze Past Serbia, Preserve Perfect Record

14 July 2010

Greece squeezed past Serbia 63-62 in another tight and pulsating contest for the tournament favourites to preserve their unbeaten record at the U20 European Championship Men and heap heartache on the Lithuanian players sat watching courtside.

Lithuania needed a win by Serbia to have any chance of making it to the quarter-finals ahead of their game with Ukraine and it looked to be on the cards when Serbia were ahead 60-53.

However, the reigning gold medallists never know when they are beaten and came storming back to take a tight win and in the process deny Lithuania their opportunity.

As for Serbia, their tight loss was a little easier to bear since they qualify for the quarter-finals anyway while their defeat also inadvertently did a big favour for jubilant neighbours Montenegro who also had their place in the quarter-final line-up confirmed after this result.

The game itself was captivating, despite Greece having already taken top spot in the group. There was barely anything to choose between both sides in a tight first half with Greece edging ahead 35-30. Serbia then dug in and a three-pointer by Nemanja Jaramaz tied things up at 43-43 to set up a nervous climax.

When Serbia then went seven points up, it looked like they might do it but Greece showed they have the heart of a champion team. They came storming back and eventually Pappas made the big play as he got to the hoop under pressure with five seconds remaining before Jaramaz missed with the last shot of the game for Serbia.

Konstantinos Papanikolaou was again effective for Greece with 15 points and 9 rebounds while Dejan Musli had 14 points and 9 rebounds for Serbia. Watch Greece's postgame reaction here.


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