Turkey Slip Past Serbia

26 July 2013
Kerem Kanter (Turkey)
Kerem Kanter had an impressive output for Turkey to finish with 9 points and 7 rebounds
Turning Point: Turkey packed the paint to cut off Serbia's driving game. Serbia's point production dried up early in the fourth allowing guards Dogukan Sanli and Berk Ugurlu to open Turkey's biggest lead of the game and give them a buffer heading into a tight finish.

Game Hero: Metecan Birsen's cool demeanour in a tight-finishing encounter was admirable, twice hitting from downtown in the dying stages.
Stats Don't Lie:
Turkey made the most of their height advantage, protecting the rim from Serbia's quick guard brigade. Center Egemen Güven led a front court that collectively made nine blocked shots to Serbia's three.

Turkey threw off some late nerves to cling on to a hard-fought 71-67 win over Serbia and advance to the semi-finals of the U18 European Championship.

Three quick baskets by Kenan Sipahi had Turkey off to a nice start early in the first quarter, but Serbia's classy backcourt went on to score 16 of the team's 21 points and establish a small quarter-time lead.

Led by 10 flashy points from Okben Ulubay and 17 fast-break points, the Turkish bench produced a run of eight unanswered points to regain the lead.

Serbia edged back into the contest behind the offensive production of Rade Zagorac and 13 second-chance points until a last second jump shot courtesy of Kartal Özmizrak restored Turkey's advantage at the half.

Serbia, playing far from their confident and smooth brand of basketball on display earlier in the Second Round, did enough to stick around in the third quarter, but found difficulty getting past Turkish rim protectors Egemen Güven and Emircan Kosut.

The hot hand of Dogukan Sanli gave Turkey the game's first double-digit lead midway through the final quarter as Serbia found scoring hard to come by. The Turkish defence took away the three-point option for Serbia and their size and length made driving a futile task.

Turkey looked set for an easy win, but had to settle for a nervous ending as the Serbians scored five late points to come within three points with 23 seconds remaining when a Metecan Birsen free throw sealed the result.

Sanli finished with 13 points thanks to his pivotal fourth quarter run, as did Birsen (11 rebounds), while Güven and Kosut finished with a combined seven blocks.

Zagorac led Serbia 18 points and seven rebounds.



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