Perfect Turkey Into Semifinals

26 July 2007

Turkey recovered from a poor shooting start and a big double-digit deficit to defeat Greece 64-54, sending the hosts to their second loss in a row and eliminating them from semi-final contention.

The 2005 champions were an abysmal four of 21 (19%) from the field in the first 14 minutes of the game while Greece were a much more impressive 14 of 23 (61%) as they raced to a 30-11 lead early in the second quarter.

Ioannis Angelopoulos (Greece)
Ioannis Angelopoulos had 11 points and five rebounds for Greece.
But Turkey fought back behind Can M Mutaf, who finished with a game-high 26 points, 17 of them in the second half, when his team took the lead for the first time and held on to it for good.

The 192cm guard tied the game at 42 all six minutes after the break and, when Enes Kanter hit a free-throw with under two minutes left in the third period, Turkey edged ahead 45-44 and stayed in front to win to remain undefeated and top Group E.

Mutaf then made a three-pointer and a lay up as the visitors took a 52-45 lead into the final frame.

Greece used a 7-0 run to tie the game at 52 on Michail Roussis’s three-pointer with just over six minutes left in the game but Peterv Onguner replied with one of his own and George Vlassilopoulos’ men never got closer than four the rest of the way.

Mutaf sealed the win by making five free throws down the stretch.

‘I’m very happy with this result. I know that it meant a lot for all our team to beat Greece. Now we’re through to the semi-finals and we have to keep playing hard if we want to win, ’ Mutaf said.

‘We had an awful start but we didn’t give up and then Greece had some bad stretches. We were able to fight back and win a tough game.’

Greece’s shooting dropped considerably after their fine start. They were seven of 36 over the last 26 minutes of the game – compared to 16 of 34 for Turkey over the same span - and went without a field goal for the last 6:43 of the first half.

Mutaf took full advantage of that drought as he made three free-throws, a jump shot and a tough lay up in a 9-0 run that got his team within eight, 32-24, and Firaz Toz later hit a shot high off the glass to cut the deficit to five, 33-28, at the half.

Roussis had team-highs of 14 points and nine rebounds for Greece and Giannis Aggelopoulos – who was used as a sixth man – had a relatively quiet 11 points.


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