Metecan Birsen and his Turkish teammates sighed large breaths of relief after narrowly avoiding an upset at the hands of Division A debutantes England
Turkey survived an inspired England to run away 18-point winners in Liepaja on Thursday night.
A motivated England came close to upsetting a strong Turkish side in its first game in the U18 European Championship Division A, but an unanswered 18 points from Turkey to close out the game left England rueing an opportunity gone begging.
England matched Turkey from the onset and stayed level with their opponents thanks to bench scoring and fast break opportunities. With the game tied at 58 each with seven minutes remaining, England finally collapsed under foul trouble and inconsistent shooting.
Led by star Kenan Sipahi, Turkey eventually took the lead in the third quarter as England ran into some disastrous early foul trouble before running away with the game in a dominant fourth quarter effort.
Sipahi finished with 15 points in an off shooting night while shooting guard Cedi Osman provided an efficient 14 in 17 minutes of action.