U20 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP
A big day for Italy in the U20 European Championship in Bilbao after a 69-59 victory over Turkey in Group F of the tournament.
As a result of this win, Italy take a 3-0 record in the group and - much more importantly - secure a spot in the Quarter-Finals.
Turkey fell to 0-3 but still can make the top eight stage with good performances in the next two games.
Nicolo Melli had 14 points and 14 rebounds for Italy, Alessandro Gentile added 13 while Riccardo Cervi and Michele Vitali finished with 10 each.
Huseyin Koksal led Turkey with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists as Furkan Aldemir had 18 points and no less than 19 rebounds.
"Turkey play with a massive big man, which we don't have, and a lot of zone defense, that made our life difficult a bit, but my players did a good job to fight that," said the winning coach Stefano Sacripanti.
Italy led from the first quarter but slowed down in the last one, which allowed Turkey to danger the gap for a short while, though Italy's lead was never put in real jeopardy.
Gentile's dunk set the score on an early 10-2 Italy lead, yet Aldemir with points around the rim made sure Italy won't get too far and after one quarter it was a 26-17 gap.
Koksal with a three-pointer and Aldemir with another pair of points in the paint made it just a six-point difference at the half, 42-36, but Italy came back to the second half with a different line up that brought the needed change.
Gentile again with six points in a row, and Cervi with four around the rim, made it a 58-44 game towards the end of the third quarter.
It seemed like a done deal but Safak Edge and Muhammed Senli narrowed the gap to only eight inside the last five minutes, yet Gentile stepped up with a key shot from mid-range and Turkey lost their momentum.
On Tuesday Italy take on Greece while Turkey play against Ukraine.