By Daniel AubreyGreece have the only unbeaten run left in the tournament as they beat Latvia 83-73 in an entertaining and fast flowing game that puts them top of Group E with Latvia second.
Their star man Konstantinos Koufos again stole the show with 30 points and 13 rebounds, but was assisted admirably by Charalampos Giannopoulos with 21 points and nine boards.
It seems that not only are Greece a good side, but their games are incredibly enjoyable to watch, as for the second game in a row involving Nikos Keramefs’ men the lead swung to-and-fro between the sides.
Though the game was tight it was still a good spectacle.
The contest turned into a game of pretty-shots-only at the end of the second quarter as the
only baskets being scored were either big long range field goals or acrobatic lay-ups.
|Konstantinos Koufos had another monster game for Greece with 30 points and 13 rebounds. |
Virsis and Bertans put away a couple of nice treys to keep Latvia close while Greece missed some free throws as the gap closed to 40-39 to Greece at half-time.
The Latvians could only hold on for so long, however, and at the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth Greece went on a decisive 10-0 run to remove the parity from the tie and put them 66-53 in front.
That lead was extended to a massive 18 points when Koufos drew the foul whilst converting a two point jump shot and completed the extra shot to take the tie to 77-59 with 5:19 remaining.
The Greeks took their foot off the gas a little from there on but were still able to cruise to the big win, their sixth of the tournament so far.
They will now face Lithuania in the semi-finals where they hope for their seventh win to take them to the final game against either Serbia or Latvia.
Earlier in the same group France beat Israel by 90-53 in a big win to secure themselves third place in the group after having missed their shot at the semis yesterday against Greece.
Antoine Diot had one of his best games of the tournament so far, scoring 21 points and pulling down seven boards.
Four other French players hit double figures, Luc Louvés doing the best of them with 14 points and 10 rebounds with most of them coming during a great second half for the big forward.
Despite having nothing but pride to play for after that tense defeat to the Greeks, France were still giving everything for the win.
With Diot commanding play they led from the start and gradually continued building their lead until, as has been so often the case, Israel ran out of steam in the second half and France ran away to a big 37 point victory.