Vitali's Late Heroics Get Italy Past Greece

19 July 2006

Luca Vitali hit a three-pointer and three free throws in the final 1:26 to lead Italy past Greece, 76-60, in their quarter-final round clash at the U-20 European Championships.

Trailing 68-67, Vitali knocked down a three-pointer to give Italy the lead for good. The swingman also hit three free throws in the final 13 seconds to seal the victory.

Italy are now 1-1 in the Group F quarter-final round going into their last match against Croatia on Thursday. Greece are winless in two matches and face Turkey in the final group encounter.

Vitali led all scorers with 26 points, while Michele Antonutti had 18 points and eight rebounds.

Also playing a huge part in Italy's success was Montepaschi forward Luigi Da Tome, who had a stunning all-around game with 17 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocked shots.

Dimitrios Verginis led Greece in scoring with 17 points. Igor Milosevic added 13 points and seven assists, while Ntousan Sakota had 11 points and Dimitrios Katiakos 10.

Italy started well, leading by as many as nine points in the first quarter, which finished 25-18 for the Italians. Italy led 41-36 going into the locker-rooms and were still ahead 57-51 after three periods.

Antonutti's basket pushed the lead to 59-51 before Greece went on a 12-0 run over the next 5:30 to take a 63-59 lead.

Da Tome made three baskets as Italy evened things at 67-67 with 1:51 left.

Verginis made just one of two free throws, before Vitali started the final Italian charge.


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