Greece suffered a painful 81-72 loss to Italy on Sunday, its first in Eurobasket 2013 in Slovenia, that not only deprives it from winning its group but will also count for the second group stage, too, as Italy will be in the same group as Greece.
Still missing injured Vassilis Spanoulis, who just sat on the bench, Greece had a decent first half leading by as many as six points (35-29), to end the second period with a two-point advantage (38-36).
Brimming with talent, the Italian team outsmarted the Greeks – coached by Italian Andrea Trinchieri – and had the support of most of the fans at Koper. Its pick-and-roll system in attack had the Greeks frustrated in defense several times.
The Italians edged ahead in the third quarter during which they scored 27 points, as the Greeks could not stop the clever tricks of their opponents. Italy led by 10 (61-51) at the 28th minute and 63-56 at the end of the third quarter.
The absence of Spanoulis left Trinchieri with just two playmakers. The first was Nikos Zisis, the most experienced of the two, who tried almost single-handedly to turn things around in Greece’s favor in the last period, and Costas Sloukas, who was more error-prone and failed to help Greece when it needed him the most.
Even so Greece equalized 70-70, but was unable to edge ahead, with the Italians finding the way to the Greek basket in the last couple of minutes to win handsomely in the end.
Zisis scored 16 points, followed by Stratos Perperoglou with 12 and Costas Papanikolaou with 11.
On Monday afternoon Greece faces Finland in its last game for the first group stage.