By Adriana Garcia Senchermes
Turning Point: Lithuania trailed 63-61 early in the fourth quarter and Turkey went on a 13-5 run over the next eight minutes to take command.
Hero: Turkey guard Ender Arslan scored seven of his 16 points in the final stanza. He was three of four (75%) from the floor and made 9 of 10 (90%) from the charity stripe.
Key stat: Turkey were superior shooting the ball from long range. They were seven of 17 (54%) while Lithuania made just nine of 25 (36%).
Turkey answered their critics with an 84-76 upset of Lithuania in the teams' Group D opener in Wroclaw.
Marijonas Petravicius had a game-high 21 points in defeat while Hedo Turkoglu led the Turks in scoring with 19.
Turkey, who struggled in the recent Efes Pilsen World Cup event they hosted, broke open a close game early in the fourth quarter.
On top 63-61, they went on a 13-5 surge over the next eight minutes to take command.
|Linas Kleiza had 12 points for Lithuania in the loss.|
"I'm extremely happy with the win," said Turkey coach Bogdan Tanjevic. "This is a great result for us, especially against a team like Lithuania.
"The key to this victory was our great approach to the game and the respect we showed our opponents.
"But above all, the concentration we showed when shooting free-throws was great. We never shot such a high percentage of free throws during our preparation and for that I'm delighted."
Turkey finished 23 of 26 from the charity stripe, with guard Ender Arslan scoring nine of 10 from the line.
Lithuania were 13 of 18 at the charity stripe.
Arslan, who scored seven of his 16 points in the final stanza, was ecstatic.
"It's always important to start well at the EuroBasket," he said. "We fought on the court and we got the win."
The victory was all the more impressive considering the number of Lithuanian fans that turned out to watch their team at the Centennial Hall.
Everyone expected a tough contest and it proved to be just that with the game tied eight times.
Arslan's three-ball gave Turkey the lead for good at 47-44 with six minutes to play in the third quarter but they didn't pull away until the final stanza.
Lithuania cut the deficit 80-76 with 30 seconds left on the clock but Turkey scored four straight points to seal the victory.
"We played too fast in the final minute," said Lithuania coach Ramunas Butautas. "My players were nervous and tried to win the game with three-point shots.
"We had problems on defense and we made too many turnovers (15) and we lost the battle on the boards.
"But I'm sure we can play better and that my team will come out 100% tomorrow ready to fight."
Lithuania were out-rebounded 27 to 24.