Greece Hold Off Russia


Greece took pole position in Group C of the Termosteps U16 European Championship Men in Ponferrada, Spain on Saturday with a tense win over Russia.

Russia came storming back from an 11-point defecit in the final quarter to challenge for the victory, but a key defensive play from Greece's Georgios Bogris sealed the win for his side.

After a close opening period, Greece outscored Russia 29-8 in the second quarter to take a commanding 18-point lead into halftime (26-44).

But Russia rallied in the third period behind Dmitriy Khostov who scored his team's opening 7 points, and they trailed by just 7 points (45-52) going into the fourth.

The comeback continued for Russia in the final quarter, this time assisted by Pavel Gromyko. Khostov scored 5 consecutive points for Russia to reduce Greece's advantage to 5 points, and then Gromyko took over.

He netted three jumpers in a row to leave his team trailing by just 1-point (59-60) with 1:42 to play.

Greece answered with Marios Matalon who split a pair of free throws, but with 1 minute on the clock, Russia had time on their hands.

They naturally went to Gromyko on the next play who missed a lay-up attempt but Artem Shinkov was there to grab the rebound.

Shinkov went for the putback, but Bogris came up with a huge block (his 8th of the game) which was recovered by Antonios Gryillis.

Gromyko had one last chance to tie the game but his jump shot went astray, and Greece were able to run out the clock for the win.

Matalon led Greece with 14 points, while Borgis had 9 points and 7 rebounds to go along with his 8 blocked shots.

Gromyko had his second consecutive 20-rebound game, grabbing 21 boards to which he added 15 points. Khostov finished with a game high 19 points. 

In other Group C action, Croatia witheld a furious fightback from Iceland to record a 74-77 victory.

Croatia had the game well under control after 30 minutes when they led 53-68. But Iceland refused to give up and fought back to get within 5 points (72-77) with 90 seconds remaining.

However time was not on Iceland's side and they could get no closer than the 3-point margin at the final buzzer.

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