|Min||Minutes played||Tot||Total rebounds||BS||Block Shots|
|%||Shooting percentage||PF||Personal fouls||*||Starters|
AUCKLAND (FIBA U19 World Championship) - Greece’s trademark tough defence, and a dynamic one-on-one offence has put them through to the gold medal game at the FIBA U19 World Championship in New Zealand, as they completed an 84-69 demolition of the previously unbeaten Australia.
From the first tip it seemed it would be a game worthy of a world championship semi final, with super intensity and five lead changes in the first five minutes. But a 13-5 run in the last 3:52 and a 14-8 rebounding advantage saw Greece take a 24-18 quarter time lead.
The Australians stepped up on the boards in the second quarter, but could not control the Greek penetration as they connected on 14/21 two point field goals for the half, many of them lay ups.
Greece’s 46-33 half time lead was soon out of Australia’s reach, as Nikos Pappas took control early in third quarter, hitting 5 points, and controlling the Greek offence. When Kostas Papanikolaou and Vlantimir Giankovits hit big threes the score was 64-43 and the European champions were into the gold medal game at the world championship.
Australia were troubled by the size, strength, speed and athleticism of Greece, who were led by Pappas (19 points, 4 rebounds), Giankovits (16 points, 9 rebounds), Papanikolaou (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Leonidas Kaselakis (13 points, 13 rebounds) .
Greece now face the winner of the Croatia v USA semi final, and if they are ably to apply the same physical defence as they have in their quarter and semi finals, they will be a very good chance of taking the title.
Australia must regroup to play for the bronze medal, after a performance against Greece where only Matthew Dellavedova (12 points, 3 assists, 2 steals) and Jorden Page (15 points) scored in double figures.
They said :
Nikolaos Pappas, Greece captain :
“We are very happy right now, it is such a great moment. We win the game, now we have one more and then we go back home with the cup.
Our game starts from the defence, so if we played good defence, we were sure we would win the game. We started very good in our defence, they couldn’t make any baskets, and we won the game.”
Cody Ellis, Australia :
“We knew they’d come out strong, and they did, and we just couldn’t do anything about it, we were too soft.
We just came out soft, they were all over us. They were a lot physically stronger than us tonight. We beat them in Melbourne by 20, and we just came out like we were going to win this. Even in the warm up we were soft, not talking.
We struggled to control all their penetration. If we could have controlled some of that it would have been a lot closer game.
In tournaments like this you have just got to regroup real quick after a loss like that. We have to come out tomorrow and prove a point, that we were here to prove something.”