Kanter Lifts Turkey Over Spain, Into Semis


Turkey used an 8-0 run early in the second half to distance themselves from Spain on their way to a 76-62 win their quarter-final encounter at the U18 European Championship Men 2009 in Metz, France.

The Turks led 30-28 at the break and scored the first eight points of the third quarter to take the game's first double-digit lead, 38-28, on Enes Kanter's three-pointer.

Turkey players celebrate their success against Spain
Spain got back within five, 40-35, when Ignacio Llovet made a nice spin move around Kanter for a lay-up, but Mustafa  Derin's side hit right back with Safak Edge burying a three-pointer and Furkan Aldemir  scoring inside to restore the 10-point lead, 45-35 with 4:13 left in the period.

Edge hit a pair of free-throws and another three-pointer, this time from the corner, to push the lead up to 50-37.

"We wanted to come out strong in the third quarter and try to dominate them right away. We didn't want to give them a chance. I think we did a good job of it," he said.

Spain were struggling to get any easy baskets and Miguel Servera's three-pointer to cut the deficit to 52-44 heading into the final frame brought a sigh of relief more than anything else.

But yet again, Turkey had all the answers and Aldemir scored the first four points in the final period to push the advantage back up to 12, 56-42. Can Mutaf and Enes Kanter later converted a three-point each for a 64-51 score.

Spain did threaten, if only briefly, when Josep Franch and Joan Sastre hit consecutive three-pointers to come back within eight, 65-57, with 4:29 remaining.

Kanter though made another three-point play and sealed the game with his second three-pointer of the day with about a minute left for a 75-61 advantage - the biggest lead.

"In the fourth quarter, our most experienced players showed why they are the leaders," Edge said of Kanter, Mutaf and Aldermir. "Every player has a role to play and they certainly played theirs late in the game."

This first quarter-final was close in the first half as both teams struggled to get their offense going, shooting pretty poorly.

The teams looked evenly matched as the score was tied on six occasions and the lead changed hands seven times over the course of the first two quarter.

Spain took a 14-12 lead at the end of the first quarter but the Turks jumped in front early in the second period, Pertev Onguner hitting a corner three before Kanter beat the shot clock for a 17-14 edge.

The Spaniards fought right back and Servera tied the game at 21 on a three-pointer with about five minutes left in the half before Jose Maria Gil's tip-dunk and Franch's long bomb allowed them to go up by five, 26-21, to cap an 8-0 run.

Turkey finished the half on top though with Burak Yuksel hitting from beyond the arc before Mutaf tied it at 26 from the foul line.

They were soon back in the lead, courtesy of Aldemir's dunk with about a minute left in the second quarter.

Mutaf hit a spectacular lay-up to put them up 30-26 but Spain closed to within two when Franch drove the lane and dished to a cutting Miguel Lorenzo for the last basket of the first half.

Kanter had 21 points, 18 rebounds, four blocks and three assists, while Mutaf chipped in with 17 points.

Franch was the high man for Spain with 12 points and four assists.

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