Turkey beats Spain to win U-20 European title in basketball
Turkish men’s basketball team has won the FIBA U-20 European Championship with a 65-57 victory over Spain on July 20.Turkish men’s basketball team has won the FIBA U-20 European Championship with a 65-57 victory over Spain on July 20.
Cedi Osman scored 20 points and was subsequently named in the all-tournament team, as Turkey edged out Spain in the final minute of the gold medal game to be crowned champions for the first time in the history of the competition.
Talat Altunbey was the only other player to score in double figures in Turkey, who had seen contributions from 10 of its 12 players. Metin Türen had eight points and seven rebounds, while Kartal Özmızrak had three points and eight rebounds.
Spain assumed the initiative during the opening exchanges of the final, by controlling the battle on the glass to score off offensive rebounds and keep a lid on Turkey’s favourite transition game.
While the Spanish appeared pluralistic on offence, Osman was the only Turkish player to connect with the basket and scored all of his team’s first nine points. It was not a scenario that most had envisaged for this final, as Turkey had entered the title game with the most productive offence in the tournament.
Paradoxically, the order of things changed once Juan Hernangomez drilled a triple from the corner in the opening seconds of the second quarter to give Spain their biggest lead, 21-14.
Özmızrak replied swiftly with a triple of his own with 9:22 remaining to the half-time break and sparked a 10-0 run that would see Turkey grab a 24-21 lead on a free throw by Metecan Bircan, less than three minutes later.
Turkey reached the interval leading 35-28 and seemed to have recovered at least some of the elements of their free-flowing game.
However Oriol Pauli, the man who had sent Spain in the gold-medal game with last-gasp game-winner in the semi-final against Croatia, thought otherwise.
The Spanish forward tormented Turkey’s ball circualation to come up with a game-high five steals and scored 11 of his team-high 17 points in the third quarter.
The ninth of his points came when he sunk a triple with 5:29 remaining in the third to restore Spain in the driver’s seat, 38-37.
Osman replied instantly by driving to the basket and converting a superb and-one play that pushed Turkey ahead 40-38, but the real battle was now well and truly under way.
Pauli converted an and-one play of his own to give Spain the lead again, with 1:12 left to the third buzzer, 46-44.
It would be the last time that Spain led in the game however, as Birsen and Talat Altunbey, who was sublime in his supporting role for Turkey against Guillermo Hernangomez, made sure that their team would go into the final frame up 48-46.
Turkey kept pushing back Spain’s assaults in the clutch, despite the fact they never led again by more than three points until the final minute.
Dario Brizuela drew Spain within a point, 58-57, with 1:57 remaining, and Turkey turned the ball over almost immediately.
Spain however imitated their example, as a long pass by Diaz was intercepted by Osman and finally slipped off a sprinting Pauli’s hands.
Unbeknown to them, Spain also missed at that moment their last chance to keep Turkey from being crowned champions.
On the next possession, Erülkü sent away his team-mates to create space and scored the basket that set up Yaşar’s steal and Turkey’s big triumph.