Turkey’s late surge helps beat Belarus
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish ofrward Sinan Güler tries to dribble past Aliaksandr Kudrautsau of Belarus during a 2013 EuroBasket qualifying round match at Ankara Arena. AA photoThe Turkish national basketball team was taken to the wire by a battling Belarus in a thrilling start to its 2013 EuroBasket qualifying campaign on Aug. 18, but the 12 Giant Men prevailed in the end.
Emir Preldzic hit a three-pointer at the Ankara Arena with seven seconds left to break a tie and give Turkey a hard-fought 77-74 win.
Center Semih Erden led Turkey with 20 points while Preldzic had 14, Sinan Güler 11 and Ender Arslan 10.
Aliaksandr Kudrautsau led Belarus with 21 points.
Belarus stuck to Turkey like glue in the first half as the teams were tied 36-36 at the break. Turkey looked to be in control when it built a double-digit lead in the third quarter, but Belarus came storming back to set up a great finish.
After Preldzic’s bomb, Turkey still needed to block Yahor Meshcharakou’s long shot at the death to avoid overtime.
“We faced a very well-prepared team and were a little bit surprised by their start to the game,” Turkey coach Bogdan Tanjevic said after the game. “Nevertheless, I am happy with this win which came from a clutch three-pointer. Now we will get ready to face Italy.”
One of the new faces in the national team, Serhat Çetin, said winning the first game was important.
Eyes on Italy game
“It was hard but we are happy,” he said. “Our young players were excited and we made some mistakes. We played well in the third period but repeated the same mistakes in the fourth quarter. In the end we won and I believe we will play harder against Italy.”
Belarus Coach Andrei Krivonos was happy with his team’s performance despite the loss.
“We fought hard,” Krivonos told reporters. “Because of a lack of concentration we fell behind, then found a way to close the gap, but Turkey won with a last-second shot.”
Turkey will play Italy on Aug. 21, while Belarus hosts Italy three days later.