Giannis Antetokounmpo would not be denied on Thursday night as he powered Greece to a thrilling 103-97 win over the New Zealand Tall Blacks to advance to the second round of the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Thanks to Antetokounmpo’s team-high 24 points and 10 rebounds, Greece was able to book their tickets into the next round of action. They’ve been stumbling early on in the competition, but thanks to this victory are hopefully on a winning path.
New Zealand were not pushovers. Corey Webster dropped a game-high 31 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the field, including four 3-pointers. Tom Abercrombie and Tai Webster chipped in with 18 and 17 points, respectively.
Greece was up by three points at the end of the first three quarters, but an early push by them in the fourth put the Tall Blacks on the back foot. New Zealand made a strong final push at the end, but Greece managed to hang on for the win.
The key factor in Greece’s win came at the free-throw line as they were able to get 37 attempts up – converting on 27 of them.
Joining Greece in taking the last spots of the top-16 teams set to advance was the Czech Republic.
The Czech’s stunning elimination of Turkey from the tournament via a 76-91 win was arguably one of the hotter talking points of Thursday’s results in the FIBA World Cup.
The hard-earned win was spearheaded by the trio Vojtech Hruban, Ondrej Hruban, and Patrik Auda, who combined for 51 of the team’s 91 points.
Cedi Osman led the Turks with 24 points, three rebounds and three assists.
Now that the field for the second round of the group stage of the 2019 FIBA World Cup has been set, here is how the new groupings look.
Argentina, Poland, Venezuela, Russia
Serbia, Spain, Italy, Puerto Rico
USA, Brazil, Greece, Czech Republic
France, Australia, Lithuania, Dominican Republic