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Greek NT lost by Nigerian NT and was eliminated from Olympic Games - Jul 6, 2012

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Alade Aminu

In a game for the 2012 Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which just ended, the Hellenic NT managed to lose the game from the theoretically weaker team of Nigeria and will not participate in the Olympic Games this coming August in London. The result of the game which just finished was 79-80 with the victory by the Nigerian NT which is now having two games and two chances to participate in London's Olympic Games.

The man of the game was undoubtedly but unfortunately not a player either from the winners (
Ike Diogu (208-F/C-83, college: Arizona St.) 17 points and 10 rebounds) or from losing site (Vassilis Spanoulis (193-G-82) 25 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists) but was the lord of the match the main referee of the game the Slovenian Matej Boltauzer and his assistant referees, the Algerian Nachid Messaoudi and the Australian Bradley Jon Giersch who did everything they could to eliminate the Greek NT with the most obvious being the blind eyes in the last phase of the game when Vassilis Spanoulis was clearly fouled by Derrick Obasohan (198-F-81, college: Texas Arlington) but the obvious foul was never called so the history will simply write that the Hellenic NT will be absent from the Olympic Games.

About the game now, which was a derby from the very beginning the Nigerians prove to be a tough nut for the Greeks as they were following from a close distance nearly all the first period with the final bit finds both the team's starting from scratch as the 21-21 was the result of this first period.

The second period was much better for the Hellenic NT as with VSpan and Bourousis in a great shape were able to reach the maximum difference by the end of the first half with the Nigerians being much better in the rebounding area but not steady at all in the offensive duties. The result of this first half was 42-30 with the Greeks being much better and more solid in their offensive skills. Papanikolaou, Bourousis and Spanoulis were the top men for the Greek NT while Diogu and
Al-Farouq Aminu (206-F-90, college: Wake Forest) with his older brother Alade Aminu (210-C-87, college: Georgia Tech) were the top men for Nigeria

The third period though was an absolute nightmare for the Greeks as they kept losing their free throws (ended the game with the 12 missing shots) while the Nigerians with very tough defense by Aminu brothers and Diogu cut the deficit to as little as two with the third period finally ending with 56-50.

The heart breaking fourth quarter was the worst for the Greeks and the best for the Nigerians who saw their team two minutes before the end of the game to getting the lead initially with one and then with three points as the battle of the rebounds was totally for the Nigerians with the Greek centers not being able to compete their opponents in the rebounding area.

The top scorers for the two teams:

Greece: Spanoulis 25, Bourousis 18, Printezis 10

Nigeria: Diogu 17, Dagunduro 14, Aminu 13 and Oguchi 10

There are many talks and discussions which will follow this game but the fact is simply one Greece lost and Nigeria won, whatever the Greeks feel is pointless as the referees decide and they simply judged that no foul has been made in the most crucial point of the game.....

Was this "gray" decision due to the general situation with Greece financially?? Who knows......   

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Olympic Games Final Standings
 1. USA
 2. Serbia
 3. Spain
 4. Australia
 5. Croatia
 6. France
 7. Lithuania
 8. Argentina
 9. Brazil
 10. Venezuela
 11. Nigeria
 12. China
Stats Leaders
Points Per Game
  Avg: 24.8
 1. Bogdanovic, BIH24.8 
 2. Mills, AUS20.5 
 3. Yi, CHN20.4 
 4. Gasol, ESP19.4 
 5. Kalnietis, LTU19.2 
 6. Raduljica, SRB17.6 
 7. Durant, USA16.8 
 8. Campazzo, ARG16.4 
 9. Nocioni, ARG15.6 
 10. Ginobili, ARG15.2 
Rebounds Per Game
  Avg: 8.8
 1. Gasol, ESP8.8 
 2. Diogu, NGR8.6 
 3. Scola, ARG8.0 
 4. Saric, CRO7.2 
 5. Valanciunas, LTU6.8 
 6. Yi, CHN6.6 
 7. Hilario, BRA6.4 
 8. Lima, BRA6.3 
 9. Nocioni, ARG6.2 
 10. Gobert, FRA6.2 
Assists Per Game
  Avg: 8.6
 1. Dellavedova, AUS8.6 
 2. Kalnietis, LTU8.0 
 3. Huertas, BRA6.6 
 4. Irving, AUS6.0 
 5. Campazzo, ARG5.2 
 6. Heurtel, FRA5.0 
 7. Teodosic, SRB5.0 
 8. Guo, CHN4.8 
 9. Rodriguez, ESP4.8 
 10. Vargas, VEN4.6 
Steals Per Game
  Avg: 2.6
 1. Campazzo, ARG2.6 
 2. Vargas, VEN2.2 
 3. Hilario, BRA2.0 
 4. Fernandez, ESP2.0 
 5. De Colo, FRA1.6 
 6. Yi, CHN1.4 
 7. Maciulis, LTU1.4 
 8. Barbosa, BRA1.4 
 9. Zhou, CHN1.4 
 10. Rubio, ESP1.4 
Blocks Per Game
 Ekenechukwu IBEKWE
  Avg: 2.4
 1. Ibekwe, NGR2.4 
 2. Gobert, FRA2.0 
 3. Gasol, ESP2.0 
 4. Bogut, AUS1.8 
 5. Diogu, NGR1.2 
 6. Yi, CHN1.2 
 7. Valanciunas, LTU1.0 
 8. Javtokas, LTU1.0 
 9. Diaw, FRA1.0 
 10. Acuna, ARG1.0 
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