Turkey eased to an 86-73 win over Ukraine as they got their EuroBasket qualifying campaign off to a strong start on Wednesday night in Istanbul.
Competing in their opening game of what has been dubbed the 'Group of Death' alongside France and Belgium, Turkey used one decisive run late in the second quarter to take command and they held Ukraine at bay the rest of the way.
Turkey had raced out to a 9-2 lead, but Ukraine had no intention of making it easy that early on and they came back to take the lead when Andriy Agafonov tipped in Oleksandr Kolchenko's miss late in the first quarter, only for Orlando Magic star Hedo Turkolgu to tie it 24-24 five seconds later
|Kerem Tunçeri had 13 points for Turkey|
The hosts were now in cruise control, but they did get something of a wake up call in the final minutes as back-to-back three-pointers from Artur Drozdov and Sergiy Gladyr cut their lead to single figures at 80-71.
Turkoglu then split a pair of free throws and once Drozdov was guilty of a momentum-killing turnover, the crisis was averted for Turkey and the game was won.
Turkoglu was the beating heart of the Turkey team, and finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Kerem Gonlum and Oguz Savas also managed 15 points while Kerem Tunceri had 13 points and Ersan Ilyasova collected 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Agafonov and Artem Butskyy each had 15 points for Ukraine, while Serhiy Lishchuk added 13.