Greece made a positive start to its Eurobasket 2022 campaign in Italy narrowly edging out Croatia 89-85 on Friday.
Led by Tyler Dorsey and Giannis Antetokounmpo, scorers of 27 points each, Greece held off the Croats who twice came back into the game to challenge the Greeks all the way till the end.
Croatia led 7-0 at the start, but the players of coach Dimitris Itoudis got going to take a 17-point lead and close the first half 16 points ahead (46-30), primarily thanks to Dorsey’s triples.
The complacency in the Greek camp and the improved method of penetration the Croats employed against Greece’s defense changed the face of the game with Croatia getting within three points from Greece (65-62).
The Greeks pulled away again but Croatia staged another comeback to cut its arrears to two (84-82). That was when Giannis made the difference, both in defense and in offense, to decide the game in Greece’s favor. Besides the 27 points, the NBA superstar also collected 11 rebounds and distributed six assists.
Up next Greece is facing Italy on Saturday. It is unlikely Kostas Antetokounmpo or Giorgos Papagiannis join the squad for that game either.