Greece defeated Turkey in Olympic qualification


Greece beat Turkey in Olympic qualification.

Today marks the 17th anniversary of the Euro 2004 victory over Portugal, the Greek national basketball team was determined to celebrate their own victory.

The Greek national team beat Turkey 81-63 with an impressive performance, Greece advance to the final of the pre-Olympic finals. It only takes one more win against the Czech Republic to get to the Tokyo Olympics.

Greece overcame a slow start and early hole to beat Turkey 81-63 and advance to the OQT final. They will face the Czech Republic on Sunday, a victory that will bring them their first Olympic trip since 2008.

Greece made two 10-0 runs in the frame in the third quarter on the way to building a 10-point lead. The Greeks stayed hot in fourth place and increased their lead to 19 points before the final buzzer.

Greece shot 29 percent in the first half and finished the game with 46.4 percent. They were 14 points at the beginning – and 22: 8 at the end of the first quarter – but beat Turkey in a dominant second half with 54:29.

Greece has shown how resilient it is to win a tournament of this magnitude. The Greeks lost their opening, but have won consecutive knockout games to secure their place in the final.

Greece coach Rick Pitino said after the game

“We were nervous in the first half and I’ve seen it hundreds of times: you go out, you have wide open shots, you can’t make it, you get tight, it bothers you. And I told them, ‘Just play defense,’ and I just kept repeating at halftime and time-out, ‘Please don’t relax. We will take the lead at the beginning of the third quarter, not relax.

Nick Calathes was the man of the game. The 32-year-old point guard filled the statistics with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. He’s done the most damage with runners in the lane, but also thrown a big three to boost Greece’s lead to 14 points in the fourth quarter and forcing Turkey to take a break.

Also in the race were Georgios Papagiannis and Konstantinos Mitoglou, who both had doubles for Greece. Papagiannis scored 14 points and 13 rebounds while Mitoglou added 10 points and 12 boards.

Among Greece’s absences: Two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is in a deep playoff run with the Milwaukee Bucks. Vassilis Spanoulis, a Greek basketball legend, planned to join his compatriots in Victoria but was injured shortly before the OQT. He later announced his resignation.

More in brief On this day in 2004, Greece wins the European Championship (video)


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