Greece survived a furious third quarter run by Ukraine to take an 80-64 win in their qualifying round game at Rethimno tonight.
Gennadiy Dzyuba, who didn’t take a shot in the first half, made four three-pointers while Maks Konate did some damage inside as Ruban Oleg’s men fought back from a 41-30 half-time deficit, to trail by just six, 58-52, heading into the final period.
But George Vlassopoulos’ men then clamped down on defense to limit Ukraine to just 12
|Andriy Lebedintsev had 19 points for Ukraine, most of them in the first half. |
While their defense was at times questionable, Greece’s offense was never a problem as Giannis Aggelopoulos once again led the way with 23 points and got all the help he needed as three other players reached double figures for the home team.
Michail Roussis added 18 points and Georgios Georgakis was a force down low, finishing with 15 points and 15 rebounds.
‘This was a tough win but we knew it was going to be tough. Ukraine are a good team and I think they can win a game in the qualifying round,’ said Georgakis.
Dimitrios Katsivelis hit a three-pointer to start the final quarter and Georgios Varnavas then had an empathic two-handed dunk on a fast break to restore Greece’s double-digit lead, one which Ukraine could never dig into much the rest of the way.
‘We had a bit of trouble with the zone defense in the third quarter. Ukraine made some shots from outside so we decided to go back to man to man defense and it led to some good transition game for us,’ said Vlassopoulos afterwards.
In the first half, Greece could not contain Ukraine’s Andriy Lebedintsev as he accounted for 15 of his team’s 30 points but he was kept in check the rest of the way.
He finished with a team-high 19 points while Dzyuba had 15