Sakota Shoots Greece To Victory

14 July 2006

Greece got their Ostchem U20 European Championship hopes off to a great start on Friday with an 81-71 victory over Lithuania.

Ntousan Sakota was the chief architect in Lithuania's downfall as the rising Panathinaikos star hit a tournament high 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Greece.

The game was close throughout and it was only a 9-0 run in the last three minutes which saw Greece escape with the win.

Mantas Kalnietis is the only returning player from Lithuania's 2005 U20 silver medal-winning side, and it was his three-pointer with 5:48 remaining which saw Lithuania close to within one point, 67-68.

After maintaing a comfortable lead for most of the third and fourth quarters, Kalneitis' three-pointer was the wake-up call for Greece. Sakota replied with a three-pointer for the Greeks and a D Verginis steal led to a lay-up for D Lolas.

Following a timeout, Kalnietis missed a three-point shot and Greece's Igor Milosevic replied with a three of his own to give Greece a 76-67 advantage with just over 3 minutes remaining.

A comeback from that point proved too tall an order for Lithuania and a Sakota 3-point play in the final seconds capped a fantastic Greek victory.

Sakota shot an impressive 11/17 from the field and 4/4 from the free throw line for his 31 points. No other Greek player made it into double figures in scoring.

Vilmantas Dilys was Lithuania's top performer with 18 points and 15 rebounds.

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