Game Hero: With leader Vassilis Spanoulis unable to play most of the second half, Loukas Mavrokefalidis scored some big points in finishing with 10 points and six rebounds for Greece.
Stats Don't Lie: Greece nearly wasted a 22-point fourth quarter lead but were able to out-rebound Russia 32-24 and snatch 10 steals compared to six for Russia.
|Kostas Kaimakoglou walked away with 11 points for Greece|
Greece used a 24-5 spurt spanning the second and third quarters and held on for an 80-71 victory over Russia to remain perfect atop EuroBasket 2013's Group D in Koper.
Five players scored in double figures for Greece, paced by Vassilis Spanoulis and Kostas Kaimakoglou with 11 points while Stratos Perperoglou, Loukas Mavrokefalidis and Kostas Papanikolaou all added 10 points.
"It was a tough game. Russia is a good team. The difference was the end of the second quarter and beginning of the third. But they're a good team and then finished strong," said Greece swingman Michael Bramos.
"This is something you learn from for down the road. It's a long tournament. It's just important that you win."
Russia dropped to 0-2 in the group despite Aleksey Shved scoring 17 points and Sergey Karasev hitting for 10 points.
"I am very happy because we played one of the best teams and we played with six young players on the court. We lost three minutes in the second quarter and started the third quarter of very bad. And then we still came back into the game," said Russia coach Vasiliy Karasev.
Greece jumped ahead 8-2 only to see Russia knot the game at 8-8. After both teams nailed two triples each, the Russians closed the first quarter with the final seven points including a buzzer-beater three by Dmitry Khvostov to make it 21-16.
A Dmitry Kulagin three-point play and Sergey Monya triple extended the run to 13-4 spanning the quarters and a 27-20 Russian lead. Greece answered with a 12-2 surge for a 32-29 lead. And after Sergey Karasev evened the game at 34, Greece closed the half with seven straight points and a 41-34 lead at the break.
Greece opened the second half by pushing the run to 12-0 over nearly five minutes as Hellas made it 46-34. Monya stopped the drought but Greece had already found their offensive rhythm and a 12-3 surge increased the margin to 58-39. Russia fought to pull back within 13 points but trailed 62-47 after 30 minutes.
The Greeks pushed the advantage to 22 points with six minutes to play. Russia made a frantic push to get back into the game - spurred on by Shved. They pulled to within 78-71 with 11 seconds left.