Ioannidis wants no more slacking

Though undefeated in first-round group play with wins against Croatia, Turkey and Ukraine for its quarterfinal berth at the European Basketball Championships in Sweden, the national team’s unconvincing play has far from pleased its notoriously demanding coach, Yiannis Ioannidis. In its three games to date, Greece has had to play catch-up to overcome its opponents in tight finales. «For different reasons, we started badly in all three games. We’d only studied the Croats twice and felt the pressure of the opening game. Against the Turks, our defense didn’t work out which gave them the edge. And we were relaxed against the Ukrainians because of our [previous] game against Turkey,» Ioannidis told reporters yesterday. «Under no circumstances will we continue in this vein because this is not our approach. We could have lost the first two games. We can’t go on giving our opponents even the slightest of edges,» he added. Ioannidis, however, gave credit to his team for the fighting spirit it displayed to rebound in all three encounters. Late last night, Greece was awaiting the result of a game between Germany and Italy. The winner will meet Greece in a quarterfinal match on Thursday. As the winner of its group, Greece qualified directly.

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