|4||I. VOUGIOUKAS||Did not play|
|10||G. PRINTEZIS||Did not play|
|4||C. AKYOL||Did not play|
|6||B. ERMIS||Did not play|
|Min||Minutes played||Tot||Total rebounds||BS||Block Shots|
|%||Shooting percentage||PF||Personal fouls||*||Starters|
ANKARA (2010 FIBA World Championship) – Turkey gradually pulled away to take a convincing 76-65 win over neighbours and rivals Greece in front of a sell-out crowd at Ankara Arena.
The win meant the Turks remained undefeated (3-0) with Greece suffering their first defeat (2-1). Turkey’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Ahmet Davutoglu and his Greek counterpart Mr Dimitris Droutsas were in attendance.
Ersan Ilyasova was unstoppable, scoring a game-high 26 points and hitting on all six of his three-point attempts. He had 12 points in the first quarter alone, helping his team jump out to a 22-15 lead. After the game the Turkish big man visited with FIBATV.Com.
With the game tied at seven, the hosts pulled away as the masked forward knocked down two long bombs and a pair of free-throws. Omer Asik completed a three-point play for an 18-12 advantage.
Sofoklis Schortsanitis – back in the Greek line-up after serving a two-game suspension – dunked the ball to get his team within four, but the Turks then beat their opponents’s full court press defense to lead 22-15.
Dimitris Diamantidis knocked down a long three-pointer in the last second of the period, but upon reviewing the instant replay, the referees deemed it did not leave his hands before the final buzzer.
Semih Erden made a pair of free-throws to keep the hosts up by seven, 24-17, early in the second period before the Greeks worked their way back. Perperoglou scored four quick points in transitions cutting the deficit to 27-25.
Ilyasova resumed his hot shooting with five points in a row that gave Turkey a bit of breathing room at 30-25.
Bourousis made two three-pointers and Nick Calathes banked a runner as they got within 34-33 with 4:17 to go before the break.
Ender Arslan connected from beyond the arc to put the Turks up 37-33 and Kerem Gonlum took care of things on the defensive end, blocking Bourousis and Diamantidis on consecutive possessions.
Hedo Turkoglu got on the scoring sheet with a pair of free-throws and Arslan scored a fastbreak lay-up for a 41-33 cushion before Kostas Kaimaglou and Vasileio Spanoulis knocked down three-pointers to cut the deficit to 41-39 at halftime.
Ilyasova did not start the second half but that did not seem to hinder Turkey’s progress as they extended their lead.
Omer Onan hit a corner three and Erden hit a pair of free-throws as Schortsanitis picked up his fourth foul with 6:42 left in the third quarter.
Bourousis made a pair of free-throws to end a three-minute scoring drought for Greece before Turkoglu gave his team its first double-digit lead of the night, 53-43. Diamantidis hit a three to get Greece within 55-50.
The hosts then ran off 10-1 run with Ilyasova burying two long bombs and Erden making his presence felt inside with two dunks for a 65-61 cushion heading into the final frame.
Ilyasova knocked his sixth three-pointer of the night early in the fourth quarter to make it 70-64.
Asik then dunked over Schortsanitis who fouled out on the play and Turkoglu’s long bomb made it 76-65 with 3:13 remaining, putting the result beyond doubt.
Bogdan Tanjevic (Turkey head coach): “This was an excellent game. We fought one hundred percent. It was a team effort. I want to thank my players like Omer Asik who didn’t play selfishly, helping his team-mates. Also I want to congratulate Ender (Arslan). Also another point is that the foreign ministers of both countries (Turkey and Greece) visited both locker rooms. Sometimes basketball is not just basketball. It can be a doorway to good things.”
Ender Arslan (Turkey guard): “This was one of the best nights in my career. It was a really good atmosphere. We knew we could beat Greece with good defense. We fought hard. I want to thank my team-mates. Ersan (Ilyasova) was unbelievable. He was amazing and we are lucky to have him. Thanks to our fans. It was great that we didn’t have any fights. This win is just a little advantage for us. We need to keep playing like this to go further.”
Jonas Kazlauskas (Greece head coach): “This was a big game. It was a very psychological game to win. To win it, you need to have the mechanism to never stop. Today we did not have a good mechanism. We had one that stopped sometimes.”
Antonios Fotsis (Greece forward): “Turkey are very good with the home court advantage. We played good and were close for most of the time but at the end we couldn’t do it. Turkey is a very good team to lose against.”