Greece maintained their 100 percent start at FIBA EuroBasket 2022 by outlasting co-hosts Italy 85 – 81 in a compelling encounter in Milan on Saturday night.
The result means Greece has practically qualified for the knockout stages.
In front of 11,742 fans at the Milano Assago Arena, the Greek team began vigorously, their pressure defense amped to the max and the combo of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Tyler Dorsey finding opportunities to build an early 16 – 7 lead.
After starting 0-for-5 from a three-point range, Gigi Datome kickstarted an Italian revival from deep amid an 8-2 burst in the first, and despite an 11-3 Greek surge in the second, an ability to get to the foul line accelerated the home side within reach at 47-40 at the half.
In the second half, Greece let a 15-point lead (75-60) slip through their fingers, though, when Italy got within striking distance but braved the hosts’ comeback to win in the end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tyler Dorsey MVPs in Italy game for Eurobasket
Giannis Antetokounmpo made 8/15 from the field and 8/9 free throws. Lasting thirty minutes, he also tallied eleven rebounds, three assists, three steals, and one block.
Tyler Dorsey (23 points) was once again a key element for the Greek team, providing a decent alternative to Antetokounmpo for the offense when the Bucks superstar was troubled by two or three opponents.
“We remained competitive and that’s the good thing,” Dimitrios Itoudis, the Greek head coach, said after the game. “We refused to step back. We were always on the level of being very competitive, We had our good moments. Unfortunately the bad moments, Italy came back. They`re such a team. We prepared for that in terms of Italy playing small ball.”
Greece’s next game is on Monday against Great Britain.
Greece started its Eurobasket campaign with a hard-fought 89 to 85 win over Croatia in Milan on Friday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo came to the rescue with two blocks, a dunk, and a goal foul in the last minute to give Greece the win against feisty Croatia.