Turks Go Through Despite Ilyasova Misses

20 July 2006

Ersan Ilyasova missed two free throws with three seconds left as Greece beat Turkey 80-78, although Nihat Izic's team still move into the semi-finals of the OSTCHEM U20 European Championships.

The Milwaukee Bucks prospect could have forced overtime if he had made both free throws, but Izic's men have only themselves to blame as Turkey made just 15 of 33 free throws for the game - a dismal 45%.

Turkey are the worst free throw shooting team at the championship and have averaged only 54% from the line in their opening 6 games.

Greece had their own problems from the charity stripe and did all they could to give the game away, as Nikos Keramefs' side missed five free throws of their own in the final 53 seconds.

In the end, Turkey advance with a 2-1 record in the quarter-final round and will play Slovenia in Saturday's semis. Italy, who beat Croatia earlier on Thursday, will play Serbia & Montenegro in the other semi-final.

The Greeks were led by their Belgrade-born duo of Ntousan Sakota and Igor Milosevic, who combined for 42 points.

Dimitrios Verginis added 14 points and Dimitrios Katiakos had 11 points. 

Ilyasova led all scorers with 27 points and had seven rebounds. Berent Kavaklioglu chipped in with 16 points while Oguz Savas had 13 points and nine rebounds.

The teams were tied 14-14 after the first quarter, but Greece went on a 21-4 tear to open a 35-18 lead with two minutes remaining in the half. 

Greece went into the locker room 37-24 up.

The Greeks retained their advantage and were ahead 52-37 with four minutes left in the third before the Turks finally responded.

Spurned on by the home fans, Kavaklioglu scored nine points as Turkey went on a 14-3 run to close the quarter 55-51 down.

Turkey remained within four points - 66-62 - until baskets by Katiakos and Milosevic pushed the lead back to eight at 70-62.

After Ilyasova made just one of three free throws, Milosevic opened a 10-point advantage with a three-pointer with 2:36 remaining.

Three-pointers by Can Altintig and Ilyasova sandwiched around two missed free throws by Petros Noeas had Turkey to within 75-73 with 38 seconds left.

After Milosevic and Katiakos both missed free throws in the final 35 seconds, Savas converted a three-point play and Ilyasova hit a lay-up to bring Turkey to within one point 79-78 with 11 seconds left.

Verginis made just one of two with nine seconds remaining before Ilyasova's poor free-throw shooting night came to an end.

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