Serbia Face Unbeaten Turkey

14 September 2009
By Jeff Taylor

Serbia coach Dusan Ivkovic is hoping to have all of his players available on Monday when the Blues take on unbeaten Turkey in EuroBasket Qualifying Round Group F.

Three key Serbians picked up knocks in Saturday's triumph over Poland.

12. Nenad Krstic (Serbia)
Nenad Krstic had a huge game in Serbia's win over Poland.
"Stefan Markovic has a knee injury but it doesn't seem as serious as it did on Saturday night, so maybe he'll be in the team," Ivkovic said.

"Milenko Tepic has a back problem, a muscular problem, and there is a question mark over him. We hope that he will be available and (Ivan) Paunic has a finger injury and was today (Sunday) with the doctor at the hospital to see if it is broken or not.

"That's a problem for us because they are three very important players for us in our rotation, players who have key roles in some parts of the game."

Turkey have been one of the best teams at the EuroBasket, mowing down Lithuania, Bulgaria and Poland in Group D and then holding on for a thrilling 63-60 triumph over Spain on Saturday.

"Turkey is a very good team, a well-coached team," Ivkovic said.

"(Turkey boss) Bogdan Tanjevic coaches all of the players at position five at his (Fenerbahce Ulker) team.

"He knows how to use them during the games. Turkey have NBA star (Hedo) Turkoglu, a player who takes many minutes during the game in Ersan Ilyasova and experienced point guards, but we'll try to play our game.

"We have to play the full-court game and not allow Turkey to play the half-court game because they take good positions on offense and try to play games on 60 to 65 points.

"We have to change that pace of the game."

Last Time Out: Turkey beat Spain 63-60 in Saturday's first game while Serbia defeated Poland 77-72.

Key Match-Up: Battle between centers Nenad Krstic of Serbia and Omer Asik of Turkey

X-Factor: Ender Arslan came off the bench and excelled defensively against Spain's backcourt. He will attempt to slow down Serbia point guard Milos Teodosic, who could play most of the game if back-up playmaker Markovic isn't fully fit.

Sounding Off: "We have big expectations for next year. The 2010 FIBA World Championship is in our country. Our national team has had to prepare better for this European Championship than before. Hopefully we'll continue to play well" - Turkish Basketball Federation president Turgay Demirel


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