Greece Romp To Victory In Fourth Quarter


Greece are beginning to look like championship material after brushing aside Ukraine in the fourth quarter for their second convincing victory in as many days at the U20 European Championships in Russia.

Having blown out Germany in their opener, the Greeks and their inspirational Ntousan Sakota did encounter more resistance against the eastern Europeans but they outscored Ukraine 26-9 over the final 10 minutes for an 87-60 triumph.

Ntousan Sakota (Greece)
Ntousan Sakota
Sakota, the rising star at Panathinaikos who had a game-high 21 points in the win over the Germans, scored 17 in Saturday's triumph.

Known for being a player who can shoot from anywhere on the court, Sakota did his damage from long range, making five of six from the arc.

Ukraine, who suffered a fourth-quarter collapse to lose 73-72 to Latvia in their first game, had a positive start against Greece.

When Kyrylo Fesenko dunked with two minutes and 43 seconds left in the opening quarter, they led 9-8.

It would prove to be Ukraine's final advantage.

Dimitrios Mavroeidis scored on a lay-up with 1:24 to play in the opening frame to put Greece back in front, and to start a 13-3 run.

Nikos Kermevs' men threatened to put the game on ice midway through the second quarter when they seized a 13-point advantage at 26-13.

But Ukraine stayed within striking distance and after Sergiy Gorbenko's three-pointer and Leonid Stefanyshyn's lay-up right at the end, they went to the changing rooms behind at 33-28.

Dmytro Dyatlovskyy then made a three-pointer early in the third quarter to cut Greece's lead to 35-31, but Ukraine would get no closer.

The decisive surge for Greece began with 32 seconds left in the third quarter.

Sakota's lay-up gave them a 60-51 lead and started a 12-0 run.

By the time Gorbenko had stopped the bleeding with another shot from behind the arc, Greece led 70-64 and there was only 5:23 left to play - not enough time for Ukraine to mount a fightback.

As a team, Greece were eight of 13 from three-point range while Ukraine were an ugly eight of 30 (26.7%).

Ukraine could have done much better at the free throw line, too, where they sank just 14 of 27 (51.9%).

Another glaring statistic is the 20 turnovers for the losing team, compared to just seven for Greece.

Next up for Sakota and Co is a game on Sunday against Latvia in a battle for Group A supremacy.

Latvia improved to 2-0 with an 89-67 mauling of Germany on Saturday. Ukraine will take on Germany in a battle of winless teams on Sunday.

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