Greece Edge Lithuania To Group A Top

13 July 2013

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5. Giannoulis Larentzakis (Greece)
Giannoulis Larentzakis let it reain triples on Lithuania, making 5 of 10 from outside for 27 points

Greece prevailed 77-74 over Lithuania in a highly entertaining game that unravelled like a roller-coaster ride on Saturday to win the battle for first place in Group A at the Sportland U20 European Championship in Tallinn.

The Hellenic team's excellent defensive rotations helped them raise a wall in front of the previously free-scoring Lithuanians during the first quarter and claim a 19-9 lead at the end of the period.

Lithuania had to take almost every shot with a Greek hand in their face and shot only 28.6 from the floor midway through the second quarter, when Greece led by as many as 15 points as they enjoyed a 63.2 field goal percentage of their own at that stage.

Greece had out-rebounded their rivals 17-3 and blocked three shots to build this gap.

Once the Baltic side started balancing out the battle on the glass however, they were able to run the floor and find the scores they were missing so dearly in the open court.

Greece's shooting accuracy dwindled with the start of the second half and they went through an almost seven-minute long dry stretch to find themselves trailing for the first time, 46-45, when Martynas Paliukenas converted an and-one play in transition with 3:58 left to play in the third quarter.

Lithuania quickly extended their new-found lead to seven points but Greece stopped them from running the open court so freely and Giannoulis Larentzakis drilled two back-to-back triples on the offensive end to spark a 15-0 run that saw the Greeks turn the tables around again, 66-57 with 6:38 left on the clock.

Another Lithuanian fast-break enabled Paliukenas to tie the scores at 71 with just 25 seconds left to play but Greece kept their calm at the free-throw line and sunk six consecutive shots to secure victory.

Larentzakis led all scorers with 27 points and added six assists, Ioannis Papapetrou finished with 19 points and six rebounds and Petros Melissaratos collected a double-double of 10 points and 10 boards.

Paliukenas finished with 18 points while Tauras Jogela had 13 points and seven rebounds for Lithuania.

Greece finished the First Round on a perfect 4-0 record while Lithuania took second place right behind them at 3-1; Germany, who came in third in the group at 2-2 will follow these two teams into the Second Round.


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