SPORTS

Greeks lead their group after beating Russia, too

Greek hoopsters made it two out of two in the 2013 Eurobasket in Slovenia defeating Russia 80-71 in Koper on Thursday. Greece is now looking good for the top spot of its group.

Greece led 8-2 at the start, but Russia set the pace leading 21-16 after the first quarter and 27-20 into the second, before the Greek defense tightened up switching from man-to-man to zone defending.

The defense switch and the impressive rate of 56 percent (five out of nine) in three-pointers in the first half helped the white-and-blues to turn the game on its head with a partial score of 21-7 and end the first half leading 41-34.

The more experienced Greeks carried on in a similar fashion in the second half, to lead by 19 (58-39) after 25 minutes and by 15 points (62-47) after the third quarter, to take the game beyond this new generation of Russians.

The distance grew to as many as 22 points in the last period (71-49) before a late push by Russia cut the distance to nine points in the end.

Center Loukas Mavrokefalidis was the man of the match as he did a great job replacing Yiannis Bourousis when the latter committed three fouls early on in the game. Mavrokefalidis scored 10 points and collected six rebounds.

Vassilis Spanoulis and Costas Kaimakoglou scored 11 points each, with Costas Papanikolaou adding another 10.

The next game for Greece is on Saturday evening against Turkey.