Turkey Top Bulgaria, Group

25 July 2009

Another quick start by Turkey saw them hand Bulgaria a 74-58 defeat at the U18 European Championship Men 2009, in Hagondange, France.

Turkey jumped out to a 14-3 lead midway through the first quarter and held off their opponents for most of the game to stay undefeated and take top honours in Group C, a result which met their expectations.

"The goal all along was to win the group and give us the best chances possible to get a good draw looking ahead to the quarter-finals," said guard Can Mutaf who led a balanced offense with 14 points.

Much like their win against Latvia on Friday, this game offered Turkey another opportunity to rest some key players and give others a chance to showcase their skills - at least for a while.

"This game was a bit different than the one against Latvia because the Bulgarians made a very good run in the second half. They were maybe better than we expected. So our starters didn't get as much rest as we hoped, but it was a good lesson."

Bulgaria's fate will be decided by the result in the game between Latvia and Greece later on.

Mutaf scored all of his points in the first half and reserve Safak Edge provided a huge boost off the bench, draining three three-pointers in the opening period as Turkey led by as many as 22 before heading into the locker room with a 47-32 advantage.

Bulgaria made a run to get within nine, 55-46, on Darin Ivanov's three-pointer with 2:35 left in the third quarter, but Turkey replied with five unanswered points for a 60-46 cushion to start the final frame.

Mustafa Derin brought in Enes Kanter - who sat out the first three quarters - for safe measure, a move that might have been overcautious as Georgi Mladenov's men failed to seriously threaten again.

Plament Hristov had a game-high 16 points for Bulgaria.

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