Greece 59 Italy 62

David Palmqvist

Antonios Fotsis driving to the basket
Italy won another thriller and caused a second upset as they moved on to face Spain in the semifinals. After beating Germany on Monday, Italy this time surprised favourite Greece with a 62-59 win. The game was a low-scoring, defensive minded battle.

Both teams had trouble putting the ball in the basket in this defensive struggle. The game was close throughout as the teams were tied 10 times and the game featured 14 lead changes. The last minutes of the game became very dramatic. Italy's top scorer Giacomo Galanda fouled out of the game with 4.17 left in the game and 15 seconds later center Denis Marconato also fouled out. Things looked to be going Greece's way at that point but then Gianluca Basile hit two free throws to push the lead up to 56-52.

On the next possession Greece's Papaloukas scored on an offensive rebound from his own shot. Italy prowed to have an answer for this too when Basile again made the big play when he hit a very tough running layup with 1.32 left of the game to push Italy's lead up to 58-54.

Iakovos Tsakalidis had 8 points and 8 rebounds
Greek center Ntikoudis scored next to pull his team within 2 points again. Ntikoudis later got the chance to tie the game when he went to the foul line with 40,8 seconds left but he missed both free throws. Greek captain Georgios Sigalas got the offensive rebound on Ntikoudis' second miss and set up guard Nikolaos Chatzivrettas for a three pointer, but he missed, giving the ball back to Italy.

The Italian team celebrating
Greece had to foul to stop the clock but Italian guards Bulleri and Basile hit only 2 of 4 of their free throws to leave the score at 60-56. Basile's last free throw to make it a 2 possesion game proved to be very important when Ntikoudis hit a 3-pointer on the next possesion. Greece did not have enough time to come back as only 6,3 seconds was left on the clock. Matteo Soragna hit to free throws for the final margin 62-59.

Greece outrebounded Italy 42 to 29, but they also committed 16 turnovers compared to only 7 for Italy. Italy's best player in hte game was Giacomo Galanda with 14 points and 6 rebounds. Matteo Soragna came off the bench to score 12 points. For Greece center Dimosthenis Ntikoudis was the top player with 18 points and 8 reounds. Georgios Sigalas also had a good game with 14 points and 6 rebounds.

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