Greece pulled out a 70-67 victory over Spain in the qualifying round Group E of the U20 European Championship after Spanish player Xavier Rabaseda missed two free throws with two seconds left.
Nikos Pappas led the way for Greece with 14 points while Kostas Sloukas had 13 points, four assists and the two winning free throws with six seconds remaining. Georgis Bogris added 12 points and Vlantimir Giankovits had 10 points for Greece, who improved to 3-1 in the group.
Spain dropped their first game of the tournament, falling to 3-1 despite 21 points and 13 rebounds from Pere Tomas, 12 points by Rabaseda, and 11 points from Sergio De La Fuente.
Spain’s star center Pablo Aguilar still has not played with an ankle injury.
The hosts jumped in front 9-2 on Bogris’s three-point play. De La Fuente had a three-point play of his own to bring Spain back within 12-11. But the Greeks led 20-13 after one period.
Zisis Sarikopoulos played for the first time in three games and scored the first two baskets of the second quarter and Pappas drained a long ball in helping Kostas Missas’s men go on a 13-4 surge for a 33-17 advantage.
Gustavo Aranzana’s Iberians answered with a 10-2 run, stopped by Sloukas’s three-point play and Greece still led 40-31 after three periods.
Spain roared back into the game by forcing Greece into three turnovers and five straight misses in the first four minutes of the second half in a 9-0 run to knot the game at 40-40.
Leonidas Kaselakis ended the drought with a three-pointer and Pappas knocked down a three-ball of his own to push the margin back to 50-44. But Spain pulled back to within 52-50 after three periods.
Pappas scored five points in Greece’s 6-0 run to start the fourth quarter. And it was still 65-57 after a Pappas triple. But Greece scored just two points in their next four possessions and Jose Marco brought Spain within 67-66 on a three-pointer with 10 seconds left.
Sloukas made two foul shots with six seconds left, setting up Rabaseda’s costly misses with two seconds to play.
On Monday Greece enjoyed a thrilling 73-71 victory over Russia in qualifying round Group E of the U20 European Championship.
The lead in the match see-sawed back and forth as both sides enjoyed extended run s where they racked up points against their opponents.
A tense final minute of the match saw the score tied 71 – 71.
Greece missed two free throws with 37 seconds left and Russia missed a jump shot with 12 seconds to play.
Nikos Pappas hit a jumper off the glass with 0.6 seconds left to break the deadlock and give Greece a thrilling 73-71 victory.
Greece faces Latvia in the next match tonight (Thursday morning AEST).