Greece beats Turkey in Olympics qualifier

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Greece beats Turkey in the Olympics qualifier.

Today is also the 17th anniversary of Euro 2004 win against Portugal, the Greek national basketball team was determined celebrate its own victory.

The Greek national team, with an all inspiring performance, have beaten Turkey with 81-63, Greece advances to the final of the Pre-Olympic finals. It only needs another victory against the Czech Republic to go to the Tokyo Olympics.

Greece overcame a slow start and an early hole to beat Turkey 81-63 and reach the OQT finals. They'll face Czech Republic on Sunday, a win sending them their first trip to the Olympics since 2008.

Greece in the third quarter 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.

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.

Greece coach Rick Pitino said after the game

"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."

Man of the match was 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.

Also in contention was 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.

Among Greece’s absences: Two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is amid a deep playoff run with the Milwaukee Bucks. Vassilis Spanoulis, a Greek basketball legend, planned to join his countrymen in Victoria, but got injured shortly before the OQT. He later announced his retirement.


More to come On this day in 2004 Greece wins the Euro Cup (video)