Greece’s national team seems to be coming of age in this second round of the European Basketball Championship, as it defeated Slovenia 69-60 on September 8 to come to within one win of advancing to the quarterfinals with two matches remaining.
Just like when it faced Croatia, Greece stepped up its game in the second period, turning a five-point lead at the end of the first period (18-13) to a 15-point advantage three minutes from halftime (35-20), with the first half ending 37-25.
Mike Bramos and Costas Kaimakoglou showed some improved confidence in their shooting compared with the first group stage, while Nick Calathes took on a leading role distributing play and scoring at the same time.
The third period showed Greece has problems when faced with tight defenses that put pressure on the Greek guards, with the Slovenians entering the last period with a two-point lead (46-44) through nine unanswered points. This 21-7 score in the third period almost proved too costly for the Greeks.
Yet in the fourth period coach Ilias Zouros?s players raised their game again with Nikos Zisis with Costas Papanikolaou in attack and Kosta Koufos with Dimitris Mavroidis in defense.
Experienced Antonis Fotsis and Zisis sealed Greece?s victory with two crucial three-pointers in the final minute to take the score to 67-60.
Zisis was way ahead in the scoring for Greece, registering 19 points, while Yiannis Bourousis added another eight. Koufos collected eight rebounds.
With this win Greece has five points from three games. Its next game is on September 10 against pool leader Russia.