Hoopsters recover to thrash Montenegro

Greece recovered from its shock loss to FYROM on September 3 to comprehensively defeat Montenegro on September 4 with a 71-55 score for the European Championship in Lithuania.

The result leaves Greece joint top of its group with three wins in four games, but its loss to FYROM is now carried over to the next round, as the top three teams of each pool continue along with three teams from another pool in the competition’s second group stage.

Montenegro contained the Greeks during the first half as it appeared well-prepared to repel the kind of fast game that the players of coach Ilias Zouros thrive on.

The Montenegrin defense kept the score at just 32-31 in Greece’s favor at half-time, but could do little to stop the Greeks in the second half.

Shaking off the pressure from the 14-point defeat to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia a day earlier, the Greeks played fast basketball and enjoyed a partial 19-0 score in the third period to lead by 18 points (51-33) at the 26th minute, spelling the end of Montenegrin hopes.

Greece’s success on the night was based on its three US-born players: Kosta Koufos scored 19 points and had some impressive blocks, while Nick Calathes scored 12 and Mike Bramos added four points and nine rebounds.

In its last game for the first group stage, Greece will play Croatia on September 5.