Turkey enjoyed a thrilling start in the Omnitel U18 European Championship at the Lietuvos Rytas Arena in Vilnius, Lithuania on Thursday afternoon after a 97-88 double over time triumph over Russia in the first game of Group C.
Turkey closed a 14 point gap in the last 5:20 minutes to force the first overtime with a three pointer, only to watch Russia beat the clock and tie the score again to create a 2nd extended period already in the first game.
After 45 minutes of basketball Russia lost their energy and scored only 2 more points in the 2nd overtime, clearing to way for a big Turkish come back and a great finish to a big game.
Safak Edge was the top scorer of the game with 35 points including 9 three pointers.
Ugur Dokuyan added 18 with 8 rebounds and 5 assists and Muhammed Baygül finished with 14 including 4 long distance hits.
Sergey Karasev led Russia with 17 points and 11 rebounds, Dmitry Kulagin added 15 points and 6 assists, Alexander Varnakov added 14 and Vladislav Trushkin had 11.
Loginov scored the first 6 points for Russia, but the first minutes belonged to Turkey. Edge was the dominating force, with 8 points to lead a 15-21 Turkish lead after 8 minutes.
After a bit more than 12 minutes with Turkey on top it was time for Russia to take over and after Kulagin finished a drive with a three point play, his team held a 23-22 lead.
Varnakov, Trushkin with a three pointer and Goldyrev with a dunk on fast break and a bonus scored in a 10-1 Russian run and opened a 37-28 margin in the last 3 minutes of the half, enough for a 9 point half time lead.
Russia remained on top with points by Karasev and Loginov while Turkey relayed on Edge's shots.
Kulagin dished a big pass to Karasev to create Russia's biggest lead in the game, 64-50 and after Goldyrev scored with 5:20 to play in the 4th quarter Turkey were on the wrong end of another 14 point gap, and faced their last chance to save the game.
Their answer was a 12-0 run, backed by three hits from the arc, a 150 seconds blitz that made it a wide open game.
Russia recovered and entered the last minute with a 3 point lead, but Baygül was there to tie the score with another downtown bomb, before Russia missed two chances to decide the game early and enter the extra period tied at 72-72.
Kulagin and Trushkin put Russia back on top, but Turkey answered with a 9-2 run to take their first lead in the game since the 2nd quarter.
Dokuyan scored twice from the free throw line with 9 seconds on the game clock, but witnessed Trushkin handle the pressure and force another overtime with a jumper, now tied at 86-86.
Following the big drama there was only one team showing up for the 2nd overtime. Turkey stormed the court with the first 9 points, leaving Russia behind without scoring a single field goal in the last 5 minutes, and get a key win to tip off the tournament.