Hapless Turkey hopes to survive in EuroBasket

Hapless Turkey hopes to survive in EuroBasket

KOPER, Slovenia
Hapless Turkey hopes to survive in EuroBasket

AA Photo

Turkey will meet Greece and Sweden on back-to-back fixtures in its desperate bid to survive in the 2013 EuroBasket.

Bogdan Tanjevic’s men will play against Greece on Sept. 7 and will take on Sweden a day after in the European championships.

Turkey has made a disastrous start to the campaign, losing to Finland and Italy in its first two games.
In the Group D, Greece, Finland and Italy started the tournament with two straight wins. Only three teams will advance to the next round in the competition, and Turkey will need to get at least two wins in its last three matches.

On Sept. 5, Italy, which upset the favored Russians in their first Group D match on Sept. 4, defeated the Turks thanks in part to big points from the triumvirate of Pietro Aradori, who had 23 points, Alessandro Gentile, who put up 20 points, and San Antonio’s Marco Belinelli, who dished in another 17.
With only the top three in the six-team group set to advance to the second round, Turkey will face an uphill battle to avoid elimination, particularly given that it must still face the powerhouse Russians and Greeks, together with also-rans Sweden.

Turkish coach Bogdan Tanjevic had accused his team of failing to respect comparative lightweights Finland in the opening match on Sept. 4, and his charges started much better against Italy, even jumping out to as much as a five-point lead before being pegged back by superior Italian shooting from the perimeter. The Italians entered the break with a 22-19 lead – although the 19 points for Turkey were an improvement on the previous day’s humiliation against Finland, during which Turkey only managed 19 points in the entire first half.

The Italians, coached by former Fenerbahçe Ülker helmsman Simone Pianigiani, continued on impressive style in the second quarter, generally outperforming the Turks at the line, as well as in defense, attack and rebounds to take a 44-34 lead into half-time.

Italy pulled further away from an ineffective Turkey in the third quarter, seemingly scoring from distance with ease, to enter the last quarter with a 17-point lead.

Aradori ultimately led all scorers with 23 points, including three three-pointers.

The game, meanwhile, was another contest to forget for fading Turkish star Hidayet Türkoğlu, who was widely criticized for choosing to shoot for two when the team needed three points in the final seconds of the 61-55 loss to Finland. Against Italy, Türkoğlu ultimately posted 12 points, but scored no baskets from the field until the match was no longer in doubt.