Hosts Greece survived a barrage of three-pointers by Spain in grabbing a 77-73 victory to start their Group A play at the U18 European Championship for Men.
Vlantimir Giankovits scored 21 points as five players scored in double figures for Greece, who saw Spain drain 12 shots from long range but still pull out the victory in Pyrgos.
Leonidas Kaselakis and Konstantinos Sloukas both added 13 points while Konstantinos Papanikolaou and Zisis Sarikopoulos chipped in 10 points each for George Vlassopoulos's squad.
Jorge Santana led the Spanish attack with four triples for 19 points with Toni Vacens adding 12 and Alejandro Hernandez scoring 11 points.
|Papanikolaou had an excellent game for the hosts|
Spain went ahead to start the game but then went six possessions without scoring as Greece opened an 11-5 advantage. The lead pushed to 17-8 and was 19-12 for Greece after one period. Giankovits and Papanikolau both knocked down three-balls and Vlassopoulos's men were able to take advantage of Sarikopoulos's presence in the paint in opening a 32-16 advantage. Spain narrowed the margin to 38-27 at the break.
Spain used their outside game to stay within striking range with Santana, Daniel Otero (two) and Alberto Jodar all hitting treys and Vicens's offensive rebound putback made it 49-44. The Greek lead was 54-46 after three periods and it was up to 62-52. But Spain answered with the next eight points thanks to three-balls from Santana and Hernandez.
Giankovits stopped the run with a long-ball of his own and Papanikolaou and Sloukas both added treys for a 73-62 led with less than two minutes left. Two Hernandez foul shots made it 75-70 with 5.8 seconds to play. Papanikolaou sealed the win with a tip-in but Hernandez drained a long three at the buzzer, which could help in the future with the group constellation.
Russia Blow Out Ukraine
Russia used a 20-2 start to blow out Ukraine 86-64 in Group C in Amaliada.
Sergey Palkin led the way for Alexey Vadeev's team with 13 points and Andrey Kirdyachkin had 11 points. All 12 Russians scored at least two points and 10 grabbed at least two rebounds.
Ruslan Otverchenko led Ukraine with 17 points and Oleksandr Osnach added 13 for Oleg Ruban's Ukraine.
Russia wasted no time jumping on Ukraine, scoring the first 10 points on their way to a 20-2 lead with Pakin hitting for nine straight away. The lead was 26-9 after one period and grew to 19 points - 30-11 - on Andrey Semenov's two foul shots.
Ukraine worked hard to get back into the game and Oleksandr Lypovyy's three-ball cut the margin to 32-21. But both teams struggled score the rest of the way and Russia were up 40-26 at the break.
Russia scored the first six points of the second half for a 20 point lead and then the advantage grew to 21 points - 52-31 - on Grigory Andreev's three-ball. Coach Vadeev called off his troops but they still pushed the lead to 24 points while not allowing Ukraine closer than 15 points the rest of the way.