by Dan Casey
|Deniz Kruszynski stepped up his game for Turkey, finishing with 19 points and 3 assists|
Turkey secured third place in Qualifying Round Group F with a 71-51 win over Ukraine in Hradec Kralove.
Entering the game already assured of qualification to the quarter-finals, coach Taner Günay was glad for the opportunity to use other players in his squad, and was proud of his team's work in the victory. "We knew that Ukraine would bring good hustle until the end. We lost some rhythm, but it was a good challenge for my players."
Anton Dziuba opened the scoring with a three-pointer for Ukraine, but Turkey scored the next ten points and Mert Cevik's lay-up gave Turkey a 20-11 lead at the end of the first period.
Deniz Kruszynski hit three triples in the second quarter to extend the lead as the Turkish defense clamped down, holding Ukraine to just six points in the second period.
With a 36-17 half-time lead, the Turkish team didn't let up and when Ukraine cut the lead to 9, Kruszynski again led a charge that put Turkey clear and ensure the final minutes were stress-free. Kruszynski led Turkey with 19 points, and Turkey held Ukraine to 29% shooting and used a 56-37 rebounding advantage to secure the win.
After the game coach Günay explained that he had "probably" lost Dogukan Sanli to injury for the rest of the tournament: "It hurts because he is a good defender, but the squad is full of good players."
Dziuba led Ukraine with 11 points, and Igor Boyarkin added 4 points, 4 rebounds and 5 steals. Ukraine were promoted from Division B last year and will be happy to have avioded a return, but will look for improvement next year.