Sweden Lock Down Georgia In Division B Win

17 September 2008

The action in EuroBasket Division B on Wednesday will barely cause a ripple on the sporting landscape since teams aren't competing for a place in next year's Final Round in Poland.

But people should sit up and take notice of at least one game, Sweden's win at home in Group C over Georgia, 61-59.

The Swedes, relegated from Division A last year, have kept their heads up and won all three games in a bid to return to the top flight.

Holding high-scoring Georgia to just 59 points should send a message out to all their opponents that nothing will come easy against Kostas Flevarakis' Swedes.

"We didn't win because we had an incredible day," Flevarakis said.

"We won because we played great defense, because we created trouble for them with our half-court offense, and because of our rebounding.

"We also took very good care of the ball and finished with nine turnovers, most of them in the last few minutes of the game.

"If we would have had a good shooting day the difference would be bigger."

Sweden should have won more decisively, considering the 46-37 advantage they had in rebounding.

Twenty-five of those Swedish rebounds came on the offensive boards.

Igor Kokoskov, the Georgia coach, said: "We have been on the road for five weeks and it's been tough on us, but it is still no excuse.

"I tell my players that a good team always finds a way to win. We let Sweden have 25 offensive rebounds which is not acceptable."

A three-pointer by Georgia's Texas-born shooting guard Tyrone Ellis made for a very nervous ending for the Swedes.

It cut what had been a 14-point fourth-quarter lead to just one at 60-59 with 10 seconds remaining.

Flevarakis called a timeout, and when play resumed, Georgia fouled Kenny Grant.

The Swedish point guard only managed to make one of two free throws for a two-point advantage with seven seconds remaining.

Georgia didn't take advantage, though, with Ellis turning the ball over on their last possession.

"Georgia has easily scored above 90 points in previous games," Flevarakis said.

"We kept them to 59. I think it is important for the people of Sweden to understand how big this win was for Swedish basketball."

In the other Group C game, Slovakia prevailed 110-67 over Luxembourg.

Montenegro improved to 3-0 in Group A with an 80-66 victory at Iceland, and the Netherlands prevailed 79-64 at Denmark to improve to 3-1 and drop the Danes to 0-3.

Belarus also won for the third time in as many games, beating Albania 92-46 in Group B while Romania thrashed Switzerland 83-53.

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