By Jeff Taylor
Turning point: With Turkey down by two in the closing seconds, Ender Arslan drove to the basket and decided to pass off - when he had an open lay-up - to Engin Atsur, who went for the win instead of a tie with a three-point attempt from the corner, which he missed.
Hero: With Bostjan Nachbar plagued by foul trouble, Goran Jagodnik came off the bench and hit some timely baskets in the last two quarters to hold off Turkey's furious charge.
Stats: Slovenia made 13 of 31 three-point attempts while Turkey were just 5 of 20.
Slovenia ended Turkey's unbeaten run at the EuroBasket with a thrilling 69-67 triumph on Wednesday night at the Arena Lodz to clinch first place in Group F.
The win has thrown the Slovenians into a Quarter-Final clash with Croatia while Turkey now must face Greece with both games to be played on Friday.
"This is a very big win for us," Slovenia forward Bostjan Nachbar said.
|Ersan Ilyasova once again led the way for Turkey with 16 points.|
"It was an extremely tough game but to beat a team that had not lost in the tournament is a great result for us it's more important to go into the elimination round on the back of a win."
Jure Zdovc's team, whose only defeat in this competition was an overtime loss to Spain in Group C, led Turkey by as many as 19 points in the first half but ended up going to the break with a 39-32 advantage.
Turkey clawed their way back and took their only lead of the game at 48-47 on a fast-break lay-up by Semih Erden with 3:30 to go in the third quarter, only for Slovenia to go back on top at 57-52 with 10 minutes remaining.
Leading 60-58, Slovenia appeared to be in good shape after scoring eight of the game's next 12 points for a 68-62 advantage with 50 seconds remaining.
Following two Omer Asik free-throws for Turkey, though, Uros Slokar missed a jumper for Slovenia and Samo Udrih fouled Ender Arslan while the Turk was attempting a three-pointer with 10 seconds left.
Arslan made all three to cut the deficit to 68-67.
After Turkey quickly fouled Udrih and he made just one of two free-throws, Bogdan Tanjevic called a timeout to discuss the end-of-game strategy.
When play resumed, Arslan received the inbounds pass in his own half and then raced up the floor, penetrated and whipped the ball out to a wide-open Engin Atsur in the corner.
Atsur missed the potential game-winning three, though, as Slovenia survived.
"I'm generally very satisfied with the team," Tanjevic said.
"We had a shot to win the game. Sometimes it goes in, other times it doesn't. Now we will face Greece, a team that has a lot of experience in Championships. But then again, we could have faced Croatia - a side that has 10 or 11 quality players.
"I believe that my team can continue to play well. The important thing is to recover our energy."
Zdovc was happy, but already concentrating on what lies ahead.
"The reason why we won was rebounding," Zdovc said.
"But we have no time to enjoy this win because my players are already focused on our next game."
Slovenia out-rebounded Turkey 35-32.
Ilyasova and Nachbar each finished with 16 points to lead all scorers.
Turkey hurt their own cause by making only 14 of their 21 free-throws while Slovenia were six of 11.
Slovenia prevailed over Turkey despite being without three injured players.
Goran Dragic (knee) and Domen Lorbek (neck) sat out the game and watched from the bench with captain Matjaz Smodis (back) still unavailable.
"We had three players out today but this team will keep on fighting and keep on winning, even if we have only five players left," Nachbar said.
"In two days, we will show up ready to play against Croatia."