|03 August 2005|
Turkey upset form team France on day 2 of the quarter-final round of the Termosteps U16 European Championship in Leon, Spain.
The Turkish side have quietly become medal contenders at the tournament, putting together an unbeaten record through 5 games and pulling out an emotional, last second win today against France.
Just as in all their games, France were slow off the mark and trailed by 13 points after 10 minutes, 26-13.
But after 27 minutes of Turkish ascendancy, France took their first lead of the game on a Damir Karaibrahimovic three-pointer with three minutes to play in the third period, 45-47.
It was then France's turn to take control and they closed the quarter with an 11-2 run to take a 47-55 lead into the fourth.
But Turkey refused to be cowed and, with 3:40 to play, had overturned France's lead (60-59)to set up a thrilling climax.
Turkey looked to be in the driving seat with 90 seconds remaining when Can Özcan hit a huge three-pointer to give his side a 65-62 lead.
However, Karaibrahimovic replied with an even more impressive play for France, conjuring up a four-point play when he was fouled on a successful three-point attempt. The ensuing free throw gave France a 66-65 lead with 30 seconds on the clock.
Turkey looked to have blown their chances when Özcan missed a three-pointer, but Eyüp Aydogan was there to grab the offensive rebound. He missed the putback, but Turkey's Brikan Batuk got his hands on the ball and this time made no mistake, laying the ball in and picking up a foul in the process.
Batuk missed the bonus shot, but with only 4 seconds to go, France were unable to get a good shot and Turkey were the winners.
Özcan top scored for Turkey with 19 points and also pulled down a team high 7 rebounds.
In the group's other game, Italy kept their semi-final hopes alive with a win against Croatia.
Italy looked down and out in the first half when they trailed by as many as 13 points. But they outscored their opponents 23-16 in the third period to get back in contention in the fourth quarter.
Italy saved their best play for last, hitting 23 points in the final 7 minutes of the final period to outscore Croatia 23-13 and end up with a comfortable win.
Forward Constantino Cuttola was the catalyst for Italy as he led his side with a tournament-high 35 points.
Bojan Bogdanovic paced Croatia with 34 points.