SPORTS

Solid second half is enough for Greece

A nine-point win over Bosnia Herzegovina on August 31 (76-67) was a good enough start for Greece in the 2011 European Basketball Championship in Lithuania, after a rather poor first half and a solid performance in the last 20 minutes.

The maiden competition game for coach Ilias Zouros showed a wobbly defense in the first couple of periods that had the Bosnians in the lead.

However, as the match heated up the Greeks played a good all-around game with a better scoring rate and a dominance in rebounds (41 against 31 at the end).

Bosnia led by up to five points (20-15) early in the second period to end the first half 34-31 in its favor.

The improved marking of Mirza Teletovic in the second half saw Greece control the pace of the game, but it had to wait until the 25th minute to take a clear lead (45-41) after seven unanswered points.

The Greeks went on to stretch their advantage to 14 points (72-58) toward the end, banishing fears of a possible upset at the start of the tournament for this relatively inexperienced side.

Kosta Koufos had an impressive double-double (10 points and 10 rebounds), but Nikos Zisis was Greece’s top scorer with 13 points.

Yiannis Bourousis grabbed 12 points and Mike Bramos added 10, including an impressive alley-hoop from a Vassilis Xanthopoulos assist.

“We played some very good defence in the second half,» said Koufos. «We will get better game-by-game,» he added.