Can M Mutaf led a balanced attack as Turkey overcame Latvia 79-70 to remain undefeated in the qualifying round in Rethimnon tonight.
Mustafa Derin’s men edged ahead on a score of 18-17 at the end of the first quarter, but Latvia used a 15-0 spurt in the second period to take a 25-18 lead.
However, it was then the 2005 champions’ turn to go on a run as they scored nine unanswered points over the course of the second and third quarter to take a 40-33 advantage.
They stretched their lead to double digits several times in the second half but Latvia were still within striking distance until the closing minutes of the game.
The two teams were equal in most statistical categories.
Latvia had better field goal percentages but they turned the ball over 29 times – nine more than their opponents – and that proved to be a deciding factor in the game’s outcome.
Mutaf had 21 points and Enes Kanter added 16 points and nine rebounds with Burak Yoksel contributing 13 points and five assists to the cause.
Janis Antrops continued his fine form in this tournament with a team-high 20 points and Artjoms Butjankovs chipped in with 17 points and 10 rebounds for Juris Petrovs’ side.