By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The experienced Brazilian veteran duo in Anderson Varejao and Leandrinho Barbosa led their squad to a big comeback and a 79-78 win over Greece.
Brazil (2-0) is the first team to qualify to the second round in Group F while Greece (1-1) will play against New Zealand (1-1) for a spot.
Varejao banked 22 points including 16 in the second half while Barbosa nailed 11 out of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. Varejao also grabbed nine boards while Marquinhos Sousa helped with 15 points.
“We put a lot of work in for such a performance”, said Varejao after the game. “It’s not easy, you have to prepare yourself and keep going. I believe this can be one of my best games with the national team, beating Greece a team that everyone was expected to kill us”.
Brazil was ahead 76-71 with 50 seconds left but Rafa Luz committed an unsportsmanlike foul which sent Kostas Papanikolau to the line. He made both free throws and then Georgios Printezis nailed a long triple to tie the game at 76. Varejao made a floater in the following offense and sent Brazil – which played great defense on Giannis Antetokounmpo – to the second round.
For Greece, Printezis scored 20 points followed by Nick Calathes’ 16 and Giannis’ 13 points. Kostas Sloukas dished 11 assists along with nine points and had a chance to send the game into overtime at the end after an unnecessary foul by Didi Louzada. Sloukas made the first two free throws but his third bounced around the rim and Brazil’s Bruno Caboclo ‘smacked’ it away.
Greece had a slight upper hand early on and a 19-15 lead after ten minutes but completely took over in the second quarter with a 21-6 run to go ahead by a 17-point margin (40-23). Brazil answered with seven straight points to soften the blow before halftime but Greece still had a double-digit lead (40-30) thanks to Printezis’ 13 and Calathes’ 11 points.
Brazil kept the momentum going into the second half making a 17-4 run for their first lead of the game (47-44). Greece managed to slow them down a bit but Varejao kept the South Americans ahead 56-53 with ten points in the third quarter. Barbosa took over in the fourth quarter together with Varejao and sealed the deal for Brazil in the end.
Photo Credit: FIBA.BASKETBALL