HAMAMATSU (FIBA World Championship) – Antonis Fotsis and Nikos Zisis buried three-pointers at the end as Greece stunned Australia 72-69 in Hamamatsu at the FIBA World Championship.
In a pivotal Group C battle, the European champions won for the third straight game while Australia suffered their second defeat in three games.
Greece trailed 69-66 after CJ Bruton made just one of two free throws with 19 seconds remaining.
The Greeks rushed the ball up the floor and Dimitris Diamantidis passed to a wide open Fotsis who struck from long range on the left to tie the game.
Australia inbounded to David Barlow but as the 22-year-old crossed midcourt, he lost control of the ball and it fell into the hands of Diamantidis.
The Panathinaikos star dribbled, spotted Zisis on the left and passed him the ball.
With three seconds on the clock, Zisis released his shot from just outside the arc and the ball fell through the hoop.
Greece’s bench emptied onto the floor to celebrate, bringing back memories of their come-from-behind win over France last year in a EuroBasket semi-final in Belgrade, while Australia’s players were stunned.
"We expected a difficult game against Australia," Diamantidis said. "We played against them in the Stankovic Cup so we knew what they could do.
"We made some mistakes and they made us pay for them, but we have a big belief until the end."
Greece won despite turning the ball over 19 times in the game.
In their overtime win over Lithuania, they struggled at the line, hitting just 21 of 41 but against the Aussies, they were 20 of 23.
"The players and coach of the Greek national team believe that we can try until the last second of every game," said Diamantidis.
“All credit to Greece, they stepped up and hit the shots at the end,” said Australia captain Jason Smith.
Diamantidis led all scorers with 20 points while Andrew Bogut had 18 in defeat for Australia.
By Jeff Taylor,