Greece needed more work than many had thought but got the job done with a hard-fought 94-88 victory over the Czech Republic to reach the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 Quarter-Finals.
The Greeks used a big fourth quarter to reach the final eight in front of 9,814 spectators at EuroBasket Arena Berlin just hours after Italy shocked major favorites Serbia. Greece also exacted revenge on the Czechs after losing to them in the Final of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2020 in Canada to miss the Tokyo Olympics.
Turning Point: The first quarter featured a 10-point Greece lead as well as a 16-2 Czech run to pull ahead. The game remained tight for the rest of the first half, and the underdogs led 45-41 at the break. The Czechs’ most significant lead was six points, but the game went back and forth with ten lead changes and seven ties in the middle two quarters. Greece took control by opening the fourth quarter on a 15-3 run to pull ahead 78-70 with under five minutes left. Giannis Antetokounmpo would not let his team lose, answering every Czech score.
TCL Player of the Game: Giannis Antetokounmpo was held to 5 points in the first 23 minutes of the game. But the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player rose his game and finished with 27 points, ten rebounds, and five assists. Tomas Satoransky did not make a significant mark scoring-wise for the Czech Republic with just 3 points but delivered a tournament single-game high of 17 assists in the losing effort. That is the most by any player in a EuroBasket game since FIBA started collecting this data in 1995.
Stats Don’t Lie: The Greeks grabbed 14 offensive rebounds to just 7 for the Czech Republic, leading to a 19-6 advantage in second-chance points. Greece forced 13 Czech turnovers – compared to 8 for Hellas – but they grabbed 19 points off turnovers to 5 for the Czech Republic.
Bottom Line: Greece marches on into the Quarter-Finals for the eighth time in the last nine editions, still searching for their first title since 2005. Dimitrios Itoudis’ men will next take on hosts Germany on Tuesday, September 13. The Czechs will head home, having missed out on making the Quarters for the second time following 2015.