SPORTS

Greece thumps Turkey by 23 points

Greece shook off the absence of injured Vassilis Spanoulis to thrash Turkey 84-61 and qualify to the next round of Eurobasket 2013 in Slovenia on Saturday evening.

A spectacular all-around performance by the players of Andrea Trinchieri dismantled a Turkish team that was unable to keep up with the clever game the Greeks played both in defense and in attack.

Greece was dominant from the start, leading 21-16 after the first period, and would not allow the Turks to threaten it again in the game.

Although this was a do-or-die match for Turkey, it seemed unable to meet its fans’ expectations, trailing for the rest of the match, with the first half ending 41-35.

In the second half Greece led by 10 at 52-42, Turkey closed in at 52-46, but that was when the Greeks stepped up their game to pull away with a 17-3 score for a 64-49 third-period score.

The last quarter was more of the same, with Greece stretching its lead beyond 20 points, with the game ending in a beautiful scene as the Turks abandoned their last attack, placed the ball on the court and rushed to congratulate their Greek opponents.

With an amazing 66.7 percent rate in three-pointers (10 out of 15) Greece was impossible to beat on the night, which was easily their best performance so far in Slovenia.

Yiannis Bourousis had the fever but that did not stop him from producing a breathtaking performance, scoring 21 points. Stratos Perperoglou took it upon himself to fill the boots of Spanoulis in defense, but also scored 12 points.

Nikos Zisis distributed as many as 11 assists, on top of his six points scored, but the revelation of the night was Costas Sloukas with his 14 points.

Greece now has three wins out of three and on Sunday meets Italy that has the same record. That game will decide who wins the group. It remains to be seen whether Spanoulis can play any part in this game.