BASKETBALL

Serbs beat Greece to win Acropolis Tournament

serbs-beat-greece-to-win-acropolis-tournament

Serbia defeated Greece 75-64 to win the Acropolis Tournament Sunday night.

Greece started off the game with two consecutive three-pointers, but the Serbs got closer, ending the quarter 21-19 behind. The second quarter was pretty much even, with the lead changing five times and four ties, and Serbia taking a 37-34 halftime lead.

The Serbs dominated the third quarter, using a 14-2 run to open a 58-42 lead, before ending the period 60-45 ahead. With their first basket of the fourth quarter, Serbia achieved its maximum lead of 17 points. Greece closed it down to 8 points on three occasions but could get no closer.

Aleksa Avramovic and Ognjen Dobric each scored 18 for the winners, while Dinos Mitoglou led Greece with 17.

Earlier Sunday, Puerto Rico beat winless Mexico 75-72.

“These guys…responded in a way that made me real proud,” Greece coach Rick Pitino said aftrer the game. “The most difficult thing is how to come up with 12 guys” for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament roster, he said.

The tournament was a tune-up for the four Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, which will take place June 29-July 4 in four different venues. 

Each tournament will send one team to the Tokyo Olympics.

Serbia will host a tournament in Belgrade, with the Dominican Republic, Italy, Philippines, Puerto Rico and Senegal also taking part.

Mexico will play in Split, fighting for the single qualifying spot with hosts Croatia, Brazil, Germany, Russia and Tunisia.

Greece is scheduled to play in Victoria, Canada and must first avoid finishing last in its group, where it will play with China and Canada. The top two from that group will face, in elimination games, the top two from the other 3-team group (Czech Republic, Turkey, Uruguay).

The Milwaukee Bucks’ advancing to the East Congerence inal after a thrilling Game 7 overtime victory over the favored Brooklyn Nets makes it impossible for Greece to count on the presence of Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo. Younger brother Kostas will vie for a spot in the 12-man roster. He may have scored only 3 points Sunday, but the 23-year-old’s athleticism is a great calling card for him.