Italy Need OT To Secure Crucial Win

10 September 2007
By Cindy Garcia-Bennett

Hedo Turkoglu poured in a game-high 34 points for Turkey but it wasn't enough to upset Marco Belinelli and Italy on Monday.

Belinelli scored all 17 of his points after half-time as the Italians won 84-75 in overtime.

Turkey had a chance to win at the end of regulation but Ibrahim Kutluay missed a wide-open attempt from the left corner to leave the game tied at 70-70.

Hidayet Türkoglu (Turkey)
Hidayet Türkoglu had a huge game for Turkey but it wasn't enough.
Engin Atsur hit a three-pointer to put the Turks into a 73-72 lead but Italy responded with a 9-3 run to take control for good.

Belinelli, who is set to begin his rookie season with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA, was amazing.

He scored most of his points on an array of drives to the basket that Turkey could not stop.

"It has been a tough game," said Belinelli.

"We trailed by 15 points in the first quarter but we managed to comeback.

"We had to win this game and we did. We played some really tough defense in the third and fourth quarters. And the team won, not me.

"Now we have to prepare for another challenging game against Dirk Nowitzki's Germany."

Kutluay's thee-ball gave Turkey a 25-10 lead with less than two minutes to go in the first quarter but Italy managed to cut the deficit to trail 43-34 at half-time.
Massimo Bulleri (Italy)
Italy and Massimo Bulleri needed a shoulder to cry on in the first half.

Neither team could pull away in the second half and the game was eventually decided in the extra period.

Turkoglu was a hero even in defeat with one of the finest performances of the EuroBasket, making five of eight shots from the arc and pulling down six rebounds and dishing out four assists.

"It doesn't matter because we lost so there's no consolation," said Turkoglu.

"It was a good game and we played well. I'm happy for my team and my team-mates because of that but it wasn't enough."

Turkey were plagued by poor free throw shooting again, making just 16 of 29 (55%) for the game.

With the loss, Turkey were eliminated from the competition with an 0-4 record.

The Italians, meanwhile, face Germany on Wednesday - still with a chance to reach the quarter-finals should they win.

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