Italy rallied in the fourth quarter to top Turkey and move to 3-0 at the top of Group F in the EuroBasket qualifiers.
|Ilkan Karaman's efforts were not enough for Turkey as his team collapsed in the end|
The hosts outscored Turkey almost two to one in the final stanza to come from behind and manage to make it look easy by the finish.
Turkey had taken an early lead and enjoyed an edge over Italy almost all the way, and even looked to be pulling away at the start of the fourth quarter, scoring the first six points to move 61-51 clear.
But from 63-53 down, Italy came storming back as Luigi Datome's three-pointer started an 18-1 run that turned the game on its head.
Datome was central to the spurt, and capped it with a three and a dunk that made it 71-64.
Emir Preldzic replied with a three to keep Turkey alive, but another long-ranger from Daniele Cavaliero made it a seven-point game once more with 1:42 to go, and Turkey could not get close again.
Datome led Italy with 23 points while Danilo Gallinari had 16 with 11 rebounds. Daniel Hackett added 15 points.
Preldzic and Ilkan Karaman had 14 each for Turkey with Kerem Gonlum adding 12 and Sinan Guler 10.
Sinan Guler, Turkey:
"I am proud for the way we played after we heard of the terrorist attack in our country [edit: Turkey players wore black ribbons]. It was not an easy task. Coming to the game, Italy were very clever with their comeback in the second half. The atmosphere and the audience in which we played was wonderful. We have to improve in the next games if we want to qualify."
Bogdan Tanjevic, Turkey head-coach:
"This night both team, Italy and Turkey, can be happy. It was a great show for those who attended the game. Each team played a good basket. We arrived tired at the end of the game: it is my fault. I have not been changing all players as in the other games we played. In the next days we have to recover our energy and get ready for the next game. It is not easy when you play and travel every three days. Congratulations to Italy, our road to EuroBasket is a little bit harder."
Luigi Datome, Italy:
"I am satisfied, very satisfied. It was a great experience to play and win in my hometown and in such an incredible atmosphere: people from Sassari gave us strong energy. We won it in the second half playing in a very good way. We wanted to win this game. We do not have so much time to enjoy this win, tomorrow we have to travel, practice and play again.
Simone Pianigiani, Italy head-coach:
"We are still inexperienced for this kind of games. In the first half we accepted to play in Turkey's rhythm, but not in the second one. The key of this match is that we were able to keep our concentration on the game, even when we were down. Our enthusiasm and our will to win helped us to fill the physical and athletic gap we have with Turkey. This victory is just another step to continue improving as a National team that tomorrow travels, practices even if is weak: this is the only way to become a [top] European team."