Turkey Surprise Lithuania

06.08.2008

Turkey made a giant step towards the semi-finals with a key 84-80 win over so far perfect Lithuania.

The win puts Turkey on top and secures them a semi-finals ticket in case of a three-way tie.

Orhun Ene's team completed a brave comeback in the last minutes on the way to a 3-1 record, tied with Lithuania.

Turkey's point guard, Doglus Balbay, had a big game with 20 points, seven assists and four steals. He was followed by Gokper Gen with 18 points, Ogun Sevinc with 13 and Baris Hersek who finished with ten points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

A separate mention is deserved for Azizcan Ozdemir who scored 17 points, but eight of them were in a row in the last five minutes of the game, exactly when Turkey took the lead and maintained it. In addition he added five rebounds and five assists.

Martynas Gecevicius led Lithuania with 16 points, while Zygimantas Janavicius and Pranas Skurdauskas contributed 12 each.

Both teams were close for the first nine minutes. Lipkevicius shinned for Lithuania, but was answered at the other side.

In a 23-19 lead Lithuania started their first run, 7-0, to make it a double-digit margin, but Sevinc and Hersek reacted fast to make it a four point game again, this time at half time, 44-40.

Balbay started to pick up points and feeding Ozdemir for inside baskets, but Lithuania stayed on top. Right before the third buzzer Balbay hit a long range hit to make it a close 65-64 before the deciding quarter.

Turkey continued to chase and got their award when Ozdemir hit twice from the line to tie at 76-76 with five minutes to play.

The Turkish forward continued with a big step up performance by adding the following six points of Turkey as well, giving his team a 76-80 lead entering the last two minutes.

Lithuania had a chance to take the lead back with a three point attempt in the last five seconds, but the ball went out and Hersek set the margin on four.

Turkey will try to secure their spot in the semi-finals with a win over Croatia tomorrow, while Lithuania must beat Italy by four points or more to be in the top four, else Italy will be there.  


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