SPORTS

First loss for Greece in the Eurobasket

By George Georgakopoulos

Greece suffered a 14-point defeat in the hands of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on September 3, the national team?s first loss in this European Championship.

FYROM won 72-58 to rise to the top of the group?s table, along with Greece, having beaten both of the pool?s favorites, Greece and Croatia.

The Greeks seemed somewhat distracted from the propaganda war of their opponents (Skai radio reported that their government paid for fans to travel to Lithuania and sport flags and scarves with the name Macedonia and the star of Vergina on them) and were unexpectedly negative in attack.

FYROM had Bo McCalebb in a great day, scoring 27 points, as the Greek defence ? Nick Calathes and Nikos Zisis in particular ? could not contain him.

What is more, the insistence on three-point shots despite a terrible scoring rate proved disastrous, as the Greek attack could not translate its dominance in rebounds into more points.

This first ever loss to FYROM may have no more consequences than the Greek prestige hurt, but is showing that the team of coach Ilias Zouros still has long way to go before it resembles the side that six years ago won the Eurobasket and reached the World Championship final by beating the US in 2006.

Captain Antonis Fotsis was Greece?s top scorer with 16 points, while Yiannis Bourousis had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The next game for Greece is against Montenegro on September 4.

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