A 7-0 run at the start of the second half proved the turning point for Greece as they went on to beat Latvia 66-43 and finish the group stages unbeaten.
The win means that the hosts top Group C in Ierapetra, much to the delight of the local fans but also of head coach Giorgios Vlassopoulos.
‘It’s great to be able to finish the group stages with a result like this especially in front of these fans,’ he said.
|Ioannis Angelopoulos once again led Greece with 16 points. |
‘I hope we can win many more games this way when we get to Rethimnon.’
After a low-scoring first half – which was a result of good defense on the part of both teams but also of some bad shooting – Greece opened the third quarter with seven unanswered points to take their first double-digit lead of the game, 32-22, on Giannis Aggelopoulos’ three-pointer from the right corner and thereafter cruised to victory.
The defeat means that Latvia must wait for the result of the group’s last game between Croatia and Russia to find out whether they will advance to the next round.
Juris Petrovs’ men looked like they were still trying to come to terms with their tough loss against Croatia last night and even though they put up a fight to only trail by five points at the break, 27-22, they failed to match the hosts’ intensity in the second half, getting outscored 41-21.
Aggelopoulos led the way with 16 points for the hosts and Georgios Georgakis, who had a strong third quarter, added a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Latvia went without a field goal for more than six minutes in the first half and made only one shot in the first eight minutes of the third quarter which went a long way to explain their 33.3 per cent shooting for the game.
Harijs Rubenis had 12 points and Armands Osins added 11 for the visitors.