Turkey Roll Over Latvia

24 July 2009

Turkey scored the first 12 points of the game and never had to look back as they raced to a comfortable 85-50 win over Latvia at the U18 European Championship Men 2009 in Metz, France.

The result meant Turkey remained the only unbeaten team in Group C.

Firaz Toz and Furkan Aldemir had 14 points each to lead a balanced Turkish offense in a game that allowed head coach Mustafa Derin to rest some of his key players after a tough opening match against Greece on Thursday.

"We came into this game with a lot of excitement and energy," said Enes Kanter who had only five points but grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds.

"The opening game of any tournament is always hard and playing a derby against our rivals Greece was maybe that much harder. So we felt we had to get off to a great start against Latvia to ensure there was no surprise result."

And the Turks certainly got off to a good start, taking a 10-0 lead within the first 2:30 of the game while Latvia only got on the board at the six minute mark of the opening period.

However, the Latvians did run off another six unanswered to make it 12-8 before Turkey recovered their early form to open a 24-12 lead by the end of the first quarter.

Toz kept the onslaught going early in the second period and Ridvan Caliskan gave the Turks their first lead of 20 points, 37-17, with six minutes left in the half.

Latvia failed to find any consistent rhythm and every point scored was a struggle as they only managed nine in the second quarter and trailed 44-21 at the break.

Not much changed after the break as Turkey, for the most part, kept adding to their lead and were up by 37, 68-31, as Safak Edge fed the trailing Aydin Okcu for a monster dunk just before the third quarter buzzer sounded.

Turkey sat their star players - Kanter, Can Mutaf, Toz and Caliskan - in the final quarter allowing the second string unit to get some experience and confidence.

"This is a long tournament and I know there will be games when I have to play a lot of minutes, like I did against Greece," said Kanter. "So today the coach told me he was going to try and rest me and it's good for me of course, but it's also good for my team-mates."

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