Ilyasova Guides Turkey To France Victory

15 July 2006

Hosts Turkey followed up their opening Ostchem U20 European Championship win over Germany with an impressive 66-60 defeat of France to move top of Group C.

Led by 19-year-old top scorer Ersan Ilyasova, who had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Turkey flew into a 28-10 lead after the first quarter but were pegged back by a strong finish from a France side that thrashed Russia 92-63 in their opener and were one of the pre-tournament favourites to lift the trophy.

Ilyasova, along with Cenk Akyol, is tipped to book a place in the men`s side for next month`s FIBA World Championship in Japan and showed his class during an eight-point burst in the third quarter.

Turkey entered the final quarter with a seemingly comfortable 15-point advantage, but they were made to sweat when Julien Bestron`s lay-up reduced the lead to just seven points with 58 seconds remaining.

Engin Bayav made the game safe with a basket with eight seconds on the clock but Bestron`s haul of 18 points made him the game`s top scorer. France now face Germany in their final group game on Sunday evening needing a win to stand any chance of topping the group, while Turkey face Russia later that night, who can still qualify with a win.

The top two sides advance to the quarter-final round.

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