ANKARA (2010 FIBA World Championship) – Greece used a three-point shooting barrage to take a comfortable lead early on but were made to fight hard in the second half to edge out China
Ioannis Bourousis hit two attempts from beyond the arc for a 14-5 advantage and the Greeks had their first double-digit lead, 23-12, on Nikos Zisis’ three-point play with three minutes left in the first quarter.
Good ball movement led to timely baskets for Jonas Kazlauskas’s side as they cut short China’s runs in the second period.
Bob Donewald Jr’s charges got within seven several times before heading into the break down 47-37.
Zisis and Dimitris Diamantidis combined for three three-pointers early in the second half as Greece built a 56-43 cushion.
China then used a 12-2 run – capped off by a thunderous dunk by Sun Yue – to get within 58-55.
The Greeks recovered to go up 65-56 before Wang Zhizhi scored six straight points that cut the deficit to 65-62 heading into the final quarter.
Yi Jianlian gave China their first lead, 66-65, with eight minutes left to play but their defense then let them down as they failed to rotate and Greece pulled away 81-73.
Zhizhi and Yue hit three-pointers that got China within 81-79 but they cooled off and the Greeks held on.
Afterwards Kostas Tsartsaris, who scored six points and six rebounds in the win, visited with FIBATV.Com.
Jonas Kazlauskas (Greece head coach): China played well and we were not so good. After bad preparation games and suspension of our two important players, we could not play good. If we had Antonios Fotsis and Sofoklis Schortsanitis, we could have better shooting percentage and we could find more baskets at zone. We did simple mistakes and we did not help each other on defense and on offense we hesitated to shoot. In the end I am happy to win and waiting for the second match.”
Nicos Zisis (Greece guard): “It is good to win for us. Every game is important and I am glad to start with a victory to FIBA World Championship but actually we let China score easily. This was our mistakes and we knew that we could play better and we should play better. We have to play 40 minutes like we played at the end of the match.”
Bob Donewald Jr (China head coach): “We fought hard. We kept the battle going. We tried to make Diamantidis shoot from the perimeter as much as possible. They missed some rebounds and we missed some points. I think we played with good purpose but we weren’t able to win. We are a young team. Young teams keep their head up, bounce back and make mistakes. As you saw we had some good moments and some bad moments at the game. Yi had a great performance. He gave us all we asked from him.”
Sun Yue (China guard): “First of all I feel a little bad about this game because we lost even though it was a very close game. We now need to forget about this game and get ready for the others. We have an important game tomorrow too so we will get ready for tomorrow.”