Greek hoopsters seal ticket to 2023 World Cup

Sports
Tue, 15 Nov 2022 11:05 GMT
Greece fought off the stiff challenge of hosts Belgium on Monday to qualify to the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup with a 72-70 victory.
Greek hoopsters seal ticket to 2023 World Cup

Greece fought off the stiff challenge of hosts Belgium on Monday to qualify to the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup with a 72-70 victory.

This was a make-or-break game for the Greek national team, that after the 20-point home loss to Latvia on Friday (80-60 in Iraklio) desperately needed victory at Mons in order to advance to the finals of the game’s global showpiece.

With several Euroleague stars summoned for national duty, including coach Dimitris Itoudis, Greece was much more competitive than three days earlier, but still found itself trailing by three (34-31) at half-time in Belgium.

The third quarter was Greece’s best, with Itoudis’ players, led by Giannoulis Larentzakis and Nick Calathes, containing the hosts and finding more ways through the Belgian defense.

Boosted by the support of hundreds of expatriates and traveling fans from Greece, the visitors managed to fend off a late challenge by Belgium and score the all important victory, that along with the 77-76 win of Serbia over Turkey sealed Greece’s ticket to the finals in Asia.

This means the two remaining games against Serbia and Latvia on February 24 and 27 respectively will have no bearing on Greece’s future.

The finals are taking place from August 25 to September 10 in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia. The draw for the finals is scheduled for March.

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