SPAN-TACULAR!

18.09.2009

By Adriana Garcia Senchermes

Game Summary

Turning Point: With Greece leading 76-74 with nine seconds left, Ender Arslan missed a game-winning three-pointer.

Hero: Vassilis Spanoulis poured in a game-high 23 points, including two big threes in overtime to pace Greece.

Key Stats: Turkey were six of 13 (46%) from the free-throw line while Greece finished 26 of 34 (74%).
Greece out-rebounded Turkey 47-28.

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Greece edged Turkey in a EuroBasket Quarter-Final thriller on Friday night.

Needing a victory to secure a place in next year's FIBA World Championship in Turkey, Jonas Kazlauskas' team required overtime but won 76-74 to set up a Semi-Final showdown with Spain on Saturday.

13. Ender Arslan (Turkey)
Ender Arslan's lay-up sent the game to overtime, but he could not make a game-winning three fall.
Endar Arslan's lay-up at the end of regulation forced the extra period for Turkey, but the point guard, after Nikos Zisis made one of two to give Greece a two-point lead, missed from long range at the buzzer in the extra period.

In a year of transition for Greece, it was the experience of Vassilis Spanoulis, the rebounding of Antonis Fotsis and the defense of Georgios Printezis that helped them claim their biggest win of the year.

"We never stopped believing that we could win this game," said Spanoulis, who had a game-high 23 points and buried six of his team's 10 three pointers.

"This is a new team, with a new coach, new players and new ideas but we still made it to the top four at the EuroBasket and that's a big thing for us.

"We tried to play very hard on defense in every play and that's what we did today as well. "

Spanoulis made six of nine shots from behind the arc and Fotsis had a game-high 13 boards to go with his 11 points.

Printezis, meanwhile, showed great versatility by playing lock-down defense against Turkey's guards and forwards.
He also hit a three-pointer with 36 seconds remaining to give Greece a 64-63 lead.

That shot came during an 8-0 run.

After Arslan's lay-up sent the game to overtime, Greece took a 72-67 but were then bit by the turnover bug.

They turned it over four times under intense Turkish defensive pressure and after one of them by Spanoulis, Hedo Turkoglu scored on fast-break to close the gap to 75-74 with 37 seconds remaining.

Omer Onan, whose wife gave birth to twins earlier in the day back in Istanbul, next stole a pass by Fotsis to trigger another fast-break but this time, Turkoglu missed in the lane and Greece rebounded.

Turkey's Ersan Ilyasova chased down Zisis and fouled the guard to put him on the line.

Zisis missed the first but made the second to set up the thrilling finish, and without calling a timeout, Arslan brought the ball up the floor and freed himself to attempt a three-pointer but missed.

"It was a very difficult time for me," said Kazlaukas when asked to comment on the last minutes of the game. "I could not used the last timeout to say not to those mistakes.

"We controlled much of the game and then we lost control in the last couple of minutes.

"Both teams started nervous early in overtime."

Turkey, who didn't lose at the EuroBasket until the final game of the Qualifying Round against Slovenia, will now have to battle France in the Classification Round.

"We didn't play the last minutes of overtime with our heads," said Turkey coach Bogdan Tanjevic. "So we could not extend the advantage we had.

"We were in the situation to win but could not do it.

"It's the first time we lost so many rebounds under our own basket. "And there were a lot of small things making the difference. "

Turkoglu and Anan led Turkey with 13 points apiece.

Turkey were six of 13 (46%) from the free-throw line while Greece finished 26 of 34 (74%).

Greece out-rebounded Turkey 47-28, 17 coming from the offensive glass.

A minute's silence was observed before the game because of a mining accident in southwest Poland. Twelve people have died and 15 others have serious burns.


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