By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Serbia proved once again that they are one of the main title contenders in the upcoming FIBA World Cup by beating Greece in Athens after overtime in front of 18.000 fans.
The final score was 85-80 (72-72) as Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 28 points and Nemanja Bjelica added 18 and 14 rebounds. Both of them made big plays down the stretch, while Serbia was missing Nikola Jokic who was rested and traveled back to Belgrade before the game. In his place, Nikola Milutinov added 14 points.
Marko Guduric finished the deal with three crucial free throws in the closing seconds of the extra time.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the charge for Greece with 20 points, his brother Thanasis added 17 with five threes, however, shooting 34% in threes proved to be the Achilles heel of the hosts.
Giannis and co had a 48-41 half time lead while shooting near 40% in the first 20 minutes of action.
The absences of injured Kostas Sloukas and of the forward duo of Kostas Papanikolaou and Ioannis Papapetrou proved to be an issue. Ironically, one of Thanasis Antetokounmpo’s threes sent the game to overtime.
Meanwhile, Greece will have to live with one more absence in the FIBA World Cup due to the injury of Giannis Athinaiou. If he was healthy, Athinaiou – who is considered one of the better available shooters of the Greek roster -would have made the trip to China.