FIBA Update: Greece Stays Alive

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HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – Things got a lot more interesting at Eurobasket on Thursday, as wins by Greece and Slovenia tightened up Group F on its first day of second-round action.

In the first game from Ljubljana, Croatia picked up an easy and important win over Finland, improving to 2-1. Finland had one of the tournament’s worst offenses in the first round and things were ugly early on Thursday. They shot a brutal 17 percent in the first half and couldn’t recover from a 39-20 halftime deficit. Damjan Rudez led the way for Croatia, hitting five threes and leading all scorers with 17 points.

The day’s second game was, by far, the best. Spain led by 10 at the end of the first quarter, but Marc Gasol picked up his third foul near the end of the period. With the tournament’s best player on the bench for the entire second quarter, Greece turned that 10-point deficit into a three-point lead by halftime. Gasol seemed to take over in the third quarter, but Greece fought back and Michail Bramos hit a pair of huge shots down the stretch to give Greece a 79-75 victory.

Had they lost, Greece would be at 0-3 and struggling to stay alive. Now, at 1-2, they’re in the thick of it, with games against Slovenia (Saturday) and Croatia (Monday) remaining.

In the nightcap, hosts Slovenia used a 10-0, third-quarter run to take control and eventually hand Italy its first loss of the tournament. Goran Dragic was the star, scoring 22 points and dishing out six assists for Slovenia.

That result leaves every team in Group F at either 2-1 or 1-2. So every one of Saturday’s games is critical and that Spain has already lost twice in this tournament is evidence enough that anything can happen. After Monday, the top four teams in the group will make the quarterfinals.

Group E returns to the floor on Friday, with Serbia looking to clinch a spot in the quarters and Belgium looking to stay alive. The biggest game should be the nightcap between France and Latvia.

2014 World Cup of Basketball field

No. Team Qualified
1 Spain Host
2 USA 2012 Olympic champion
3 Iran FIBA Asia champion
4 Philippines FIBA Asia 2nd place
5 Korea FIBA Asia 3rd place
6 Australia FIBA Oceania champion
7 New Zealand FIBA Oceania 2nd place
8 Angola FIBA Africa champion
9 Egypt FIBA Africa 2nd place
10 Senegal FIBA Africa 3rd place
11 Mexico FIBA Americas champion
12 Puerto Rico FIBA Americas second place
13 Argentina FIBA Americas third place
14 Dominican Republic FIBA Americas fourth place
15 Eurobasket champion*
16 Eurobasket 2nd place*
17 Eurobasket 3rd place*
18 Eurobasket 4th place*
19 Eurobasket 5th place*
20 Eurobasket 6th place*
21 Wildcard
22 Wildcard
23 Wildcard
24 Wildcard

* If Spain finishes in the top six, the seventh place team will qualify.

6 Comments

  1. Mitja says:

    Just to let everybody know. All players are stars that play on the tournament. But some shine brighter than othery. Yesterday was Damjan Rudez, Spanoulis and brothers Dragič night.

    Let’s go SLO team.

  2. Panos1974 says:

    If Spanoulis stays healthy, Greece should be in the final-4…of course, that goes for France too, otherwise without Tony, they’re very mediocre. Spain and Italy are more balanced teams and I wouldn’t rule out Slovenia either, especially being the hosts. European basketball is still slow motion compared to the NBA, but tactically I believe is on par.

  3. Chimba says:

    Serbia will steal the show, you’ll see what I’m talking about, with some luck they are going straight to Eurobasket Finals, which is amazing for such a young team like them. Nedovic, Bjelica and Bogdanovic are going to be stars of European basketball, they’re great potentials, Bjelica is already great team leader along with Krstic.. And when you have a coach like Dusan Ivkovic, sky is the limit!

  4. mirko says:

    The true star was Zoran Dračic, just to let you know…

  5. MG20 says:

    A great tournament so far. No clear favorites and good basketball…