Italy And Turkey Feel The Pressure

10.09.2007

By Cindy Garcia-Bennett

Italy and Turkey go into their EuroBasket clash today knowing a win is the only result that will stave off elimination for both sides.

The Italians have been reeling ever since they lost to Slovenia on a last-second three-pointer from Slovenia.

They also slipped up against France and then bounced back to beat Poland but crashed to defeat in a thriller against Rimantas Kaukenas and Lithuania in their qualifying round game on Saturday.

Mehmet Okur (Turkey)
Turkey need a big performance
from Okur, who has been struggling
Turkey have been hammered in their three defeats, though, most notably against the Slovenians two days ago.

Last game: Italy lost 79-74 to Lithuania and Turkey fell against Slovenia 66-51.

Statistics: Italy were out-rebounded 44-29 against Lithuania while free-throws continues to be a problem for Turkey. They are shooting just 57.7% (60-of-104) at the foul line over their four games.

Key match-up: Mehmet Okur v Angelo Gigli. Okur has much to prove after struggling to make a big impact on the tournament, while Gigli has arguably been Italy's best big man in this EuroBasket.

X-Factor: Marco Belinelli has been coming off the bench and, in the fourth quarter against Lithuania, almost single-handedly kept the Azzuri in the game with his ability to knife into lane and score. If he plays like that for the entire game, it would be a huge plus for his team.

Speaking out: "We are disappointed regarding our defeat to Lithuania because we could have won. In any case, we are improving and we must win our next two games in order to progress to the next round. Turkey is a very strong squad that has a very good coach and two NBA players (Okur and Hedo Turkoglu). Turkoglu can shoot from long range and can penetrate while the second is dangerous underneath the basket." – Belinelli.


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