Israel Bring Greece Back To Earth

12.07.2005

Israel have one foot in the semi-finals of the ACI Trading Ltd U20 European Championship Men in Chekhov after a 60-51 triumph over previously unbeaten Greece.

The Eliyahu show - forwards Lior and Elad - combined to score 35 points as the Israelis got their noses in front midway through the second quarter and then turned away several comeback attempts by the Greeks to record victory on the opening day of quarter-final action.

Lior Eliyahu had a game-high 20, two on a dunk with three minutes and 22 seconds left in the third quarter to stop a seven-point run by the Greeks. Fouled in the process, Eliyahu made the free throw for a 44-40 lead.

After Georgios Printezis buried a three-pointer with 2:49 remaining in the third to pull Greece back to within a point, the other Eliyahu, Elad, came to the fore.

He scored Israel's next eight points - two on shots from behind the arc, to put them in control.

His second three-pointer gave Israel a 52-45 lead inside the final minute of the third quarter.

Greece stayed within striking distance in the fourth quarter but were unable to claw their way back.

Israel's Russia-born center Anton Kazarnovski was outstanding in the last five minutes to kill off the game.

With 3:55 left and his team in front at 56-49, Greece's 2.08m center Dimitrios Mavroeidis went up for a shot but Kazarnovski swatted the attempt.

He also made his presence felt two minutes later, this time blocking 2.05m forward Printezis' attempt to preserve a nine-point advantage.

Kazarnovski, who is 2.04m tall, capped off his magnificent spurt with a tap-in 40 seconds from the end to stretch Israel's lead to 60-49 and seal victory.

Israel's game-plan on defence took Greece's primary scoring threat out of the game.

Ntousan Sakota, who had scored 17, 21 and 13 points in Greece's three victories, took just five shots and made one. A normally precise long range shooter, Sakota missed both of his attempts from beyond the arc and had a tournament low two points.


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