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Greece imposes its game on Lithuania

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Basketball

Greek hoopsters upset favorite Lithuania to win 77-64 on Saturday and qualify to the quarterfinals, after the best performance they had to date in the 2017 Eurobasket.

This was a spectacular show by the players of coach Costas Missas in Istanbul, with a great all-around game that included 20 assists and seven steals, and one more good shooting night outside the 6.75-meter zone with 11 in 24 triples.

Led by Costas Sloukas (scorer of 21 points on the night), Greece was ahead from start to finish as it was very prolific in attack and managed to contain the Lithuanians through some tight defending, forcing them to commit numerous turnovers.

The Greeks grew in confidence in the previous game against Poland and were definitely improved in this first knock-out game. Nick Calathes (14 points) once again teamed up well with Sloukas in directing the Greek orchestra, while Yiannis Bourousis played his first good game in the tournament, scoring 11 points, collecting eight rebounds and making six steals.

The national team grabbed an 11-point lead from late in the first quarter (25-14) and held on to advance 37-30 at half-time. A very strong start to the third period took the distance to 17 points for Greece (57-40) before the Lithuanians attempted a comeback that took them to within four points (63-59).

The Greeks regained their composure five minutes from the end and resumed scoring to stretch their lead back up to 16 points with a Thanasis Antetokounmpo dunk (77-61).

On Wednesday Greece will face the winner of the tie between Croatia and Russia who are playing on Sunday.

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