Klym Artamonov put up a great stat-line for Ukraine: 23 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists against Turkey
Ukraine had no chance of qualifying from Sportland U20 European Championship Group B when they stepped on the floor on Friday, but still found the mental strength to shock previously unbeaten Turkey with a 74-72 win.
They achieved this feat partially because they passed the ball around efficiently and dished out 20 assists, but mostly because they succeeded in turning their Achilles heel into a strength.
During their first two games, against Montenegro and Croatia, Ukraine had taken 34.5 shots from two-point range and a head-turning 30.5 shots on average from behind the three-point arc, but only converted 28% of them and both resulted in losses.
On Friday, they passed the ball inside and attempted 48 two-point shots, hitting 20, while they were far more prudent from down-town and drilled 9 of their 22 three-pointers.
Klym Artamonov and Maksym Lutsenko were the instigators of this strategy in the first half as they combined for 23 points on 5-for-9 shooting from three-point range.
Ukraine led 21-15 early on and managed to hold on for a slim 37-36 lead at the half-time interval.
Most onlookers thought that Turkey would reverse the situation when they went on a 14-5 run to grab a 59-50 lead with 1:49 left in the third quarter, but Ukraine never allowed this comeback to bear fruits.
Even when center Vladyslav Koreniuk fouled out early in the final frame, Artamonov poured in nine points and Ukraine reclaimed the lead, 70-68, on a dunk from Oleksandr Furs, with 2:21 on the clock.
Turkey had a 10-second last possession to force overtime or win the game after Artamonov split two free throws but Bugrahan Tuncer's three-point shot did not drop in.
Artamonov finished with 23 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, Lutsenko had 15 points and five rebounds, and Furs contributed eight points and a game-high 10 boards to Ukraine; Sami Erdogan had 16 points and eight rebounds in a losing effort for Turkey.