Italy Crash Out Of Tournament

14 July 2005

Greece ended Italy's hopes at the ACI Trading Ltd U20 European Championship Men on Thursday in dramatic fashion.

A Thrasyvoulos Sfeikos three-pointer with just 23 seconds remaining capped a Greece victory after a furious finish in which either side could have claimed the win.

Neither Greece nor Italy were able to produce their best form over the 40 minutes, but what the game lacked in quality it made up for in sheer excitement.

Italy, led by the irrepressible Marco Belinelli, were the first team to go ahead and led by as many as 11 points in the third quarter.

But Greece rallied, and from 33-43 down, finished the quarter with a 20 -5 run to go into the final period 53-48 in front.

It was now Greece's turn to control the game and when Ntousan Sakota nailed a three-point shot with 1:16 remaining, the score was 71-62 and Italy looked down and out.

Italy, however, responded magnificently, scoring 9 points in 46 seconds to cut Greece's lead to just one point, 72-71.

Belinelli was in the thick of the action for Italy during their outburst. He came up with a steal and a fast break dunk to for the first points, and capped the run with a thunderous slam over Greece's Georgios Printezis.

But before Italy could even gather their thoughts, Sfeikos came up with the dagger.

Greece inbounded the ball immediately and worked the ball to the open Sfeikos before the Italian defense could react. He let fly and his shot gave his team a 75-71 advantage.

Belinelli had one final three-point attempt but his shot was off the mark and Greece iced the game from the free throw line.

Igkor Milosevits top scored for Greece with 16 points.

Belinelli had a game high 26 for Italy, but once again failed to impress with his shooting (2/11 three-pointers).

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