29 June, 2021
04 July
8 Nick Calathes (GRE)
Game Report
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Greeced wheels: Dominant second half propels Greeks past Turkey

VICTORIA (Canada) - It looked bleak for Greece early on.

But when the buzzer sounded, the victors were clad in blue and celebrating at center court.

Greece overcame a slow start and an early hole to beat Turkey 81-63 and reach the Olympic Qualifying Tournament  Final. They'll face Czech Republic on Sunday, and if they win, they would net their first trip to the Olympics since 2008.

Turning point: The third quarter. Greece went on two 10-0 runs in the frame en route to building a 10-point advantage. The Greeks stayed hot in the fourth, expanding their lead to 19 points before the final buzzer.

Greece shot 29 percent in the first half and finished the game at 46.4 percent. They trailed by 14 points early - and 22-8 at the end of the first quarter - but outscored Turkey 54-29 in a dominant second half.

 Game hero: Nick Calathes. The 32-year-old point guard filled the stat sheet with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. He did most of his damage with runners in the lane, but also knocked down a big three-pointer to push Greece's lead to 14 points in the fourth quarter and force a Turkey timeout.

In contention: Georgios Papagiannis and Konstantinos Mitoglou both had double-doubles for Greece. Papagiannis tallied 14 points and 13 rebounds, with Mitoglou adding 10 points and 12 boards. Furkan Korkmaz led Turkey with 20 points.

Stats don't lie: Turkey never found their offensive rhythm, shooting 33.3 percent in the game. Their best player, Cedi Osman, was held to 4 points on 2-of-10 shooting.

Greece dominated down low, scoring 40 points in the paint and owning a 45-35 rebounding advantage.

Bottom line: Greece showed the resilience it takes to win a tournament of this magnitude. The Greeks lost their opener but have have won consecutive knockout games to earn a trip to the final.

Turkey went cold at the wrong time.They entered the Semi-Finals shooting 52.8 percent overall and 46.9 percent on three-pointers, but couldn't connect in the loss.

They said: "We were nervous in the first half, and I've seen it happen hundreds of times: You go out, you have wide-open shots, you don't make it, you get tight, it bothers you. And I told them, 'Just play defense,' and I all I kept reiterating at halftime and timeouts is, 'Please don't relax. We're going to get the lead early in the third quarter, don't relax.'" - Greece coach Rick Pitino

"The beginning of the game, we start really good, we did what we want, on defense especially. Beginning of the third quarter they react good...In the fourth quarter, they played smarter than us, they win the game." - Turkey's Dogus Ozdemiroglu