It didn’t take long for Turkey to hit their stride in the UMCOR U18 European Championship in Argostoli, Greece.
After Ukraine scored the first six points of the game, a strong defensive effort and the all-around play of Can Ozcan helped Turkey prevail 87-74.
|Dogus Balbay of Turkey drives to the basket for two of his 13 points.|
"It was a difficult start, but we adapted," said Turkish head coach Ene Orhun.
Ukraine was able to cut their to deficit to six points to open the third quarter, but Turkey responded by going on a 13-3 run to open up a significant double-digit lead.
"In the beginning of the first half we had a chance to really open up the lead but we made some mistakes that prevented that," said Orhun.
"In the second half, we didn't make those same mistakes. We played much better defensively and we were more organised on offense."
Ozcan stole the ball with 18 seconds left in the three-quarter and then buried a three-pointer from the right corner as time expired to give his side an 18-point lead, 67-49.
Turkey forced 20 turnovers for the game.
Ozcan finished with a team-high 17 points to go along with four steals and five rebounds.
Turkey increased their lead to more than 20 throughout the fourth quarter.
Dogus Balbay, who led Turkey to the U16 European Championship gold medal in 2005, finished the game with 13 points and Ismet Hacioglu chipped in with 11.
Oleksandr Kolchenko led Ukraine with a game-high 25 points.