Game Hero: Petteri Koponen was all over the place for Finland with 12 points including two three-pointers as well as nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Stats Don't Lie: Finland's tough defence kept Turkey to 31.7% shooting from the field, including 18.2% from three-point range. In comparison Suomi drained 11-of-31 from long range to continually build their lead.
|Sasu Salin drained a late three for Finland to deny a Turkish comeback|
Spurred on by about 800 boistrous Finnish fans, Finland pulled off one of biggest wins in the team's history, defeating Turkey 61-55 to begin their EuroBasket 2013 Group D campaign.
Sasu Salin and Petteri Koponen both scored 12 points and combined for five three-pointers for Finland, who in 2011 made history by reaching the Second Round and nearly shocked all observers by almost qualifying for the quarter-finals.
Shawn Huff added eight points and five rebounds in playing a big role in keeping the Turkish low post players in check.
Centers Omer Asik and Semih Erden combined for just 5-of-5 shooting in scoring 12 points total for Turkey. Ender Arslan scored 12 points and Kerem Gonlum hit for 11 in the loss.
Both teams started very nervous and cold, especially the Turks, who missed their first nine shots from the field and first four free throws and committed three turnovers in going scoreless for the first 6:43 of the game. Finland did not do much better, leading just 5-0. Turkey finally made a basket on Gonlum's dunk with 22 seconds left as Finland went up 10-8 after one quarter.
Turkey found their way better into the game and led 13-10 and 15-14 before Finland hit four triples from long range in a 16-2 run to open a 30-17 lead. The Finnish advantage was 32-19 at the break.
Finland never let Turkey really find a rhythm offensively following the break, and the long-range barrage continued with three more triples to open a 19-point lead at 47-28. T
But Turkey finished the third quarter on a 10-2 run with treys by Arslan and Hidayet Turkoglu to pull within 49-38 with 10 minutes to play.
The run continued to 19-2 and the lead was down to 52-47. Salin hit his big triple and the gap was back to 57-47 before Turkey had one final push. Arslan nailed a triple after Finland turned the ball over on an inbounds play and then Emir Preldzic converted another Finnish turnover into two points to make it 57-55 with 25 seconds left.
Turkoglu missed a jumper with 16 seconds left and then Salin converted a three-point play with 10 seconds left to decide the game for good.