Quarter-Final Report: Italy 75 Greece 74 (OT)

16.07.2004

Luca Vitali and Ntousan Sakota
Yet another thriller, yet another overtime, second of the day and first of the quarter-finals.

Italy, coming from the 1st place in group A faced the 4th from group B – Greece. A classic battle between two very talented teams, decided after overtime in favour of the Italian side. The Italians came very close to losing and survived only thanks to two misses by Greece in the last possession of regulation and the last one of overtime.

Italy took a small lead in the first quarter but only a 3-pointer with the buzzer by Tommaso Marino gave the Italians a reasonable 17-10 lead. After a long scoring drought Toutziarakis finally broke it for Greece with 1:30 minutes into the 2nd quarter. Italy was still dominating while Belinelli made sure Greece would stay behind in a great play. He stole the ball, bumped into one of the refs and as a result lost the ball back to Greek hands. He didn’t give up and 5 seconds later made another steal, this one gaving him a clear way to the basket and he finished with a power dunk that gave his team an 11 point lead, 23-12.

The margin climbed to 14 and after 5 minutes in the 2nd quarter Greece finally scored its 4th point. That didn’t make much of a difference and Greece finished the first half down by 11, 33-22.

Three minutes into the 3rd quarter and Greece, with a couple of hits from downtown made it a 2 point game, 36-34. They were unable to take the lead though and 5 minutes after that Ntousan Sakota missed a 3 pointer that would have given his team a 1 point advantage. However, just before the 3rd buzzer Greece was able to complete a great 3rd quarter with a bucket that set the score on 51-51.

Brian Sacchetti
Ntousan Sakota opened the 4th with a jumper to put Greece up by 2, 51-53. Italy didn’t give up easily and Marco Belinelli finished a steal with a big dunk that gave his team a 3 point lead, 60-57. The same Belinelli hit a bomb from 3 that increased the lead by one more point, but was answered by Sakota who nailed a 3 pointer of his own and added a great assist that laid the lead in the hands of Greece once again, 63-64 with a little over 3 minutes to go.

Vasilopaulos made only one from the line, which allowed Belinelli to dish an assist for a 65-65 tie 2 minutes to go. From that point no team was able to score. Greece had the last chance but Sakota missed with the buzzer and the game went to overtime.

Greece opened the extra minutes with 4 points in a row, and with 2 minutes to go had a 67-71 lead, but Italy made an 8-0 run with 4 points each by Datome and Canavesi and Greece had only 37 seconds to go back from 75-71. Milosevic managed to add a 3 point play that narrowed the margin to 1, and with 21 seconds Greece got the ball back for another chance to win the game. Once again it failed. Milosevic penetrated but the ball was deflected out and in the half a second that was left, Greece couldn’t make the change.

 


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