Turkey knocked out of Eurobasket

Turkey knocked out of Eurobasket

Turkey knocked out of Eurobasket

Turkey's power forward Baris Hersek (C-R) defends against France's point guard Leo Westermann during the round of 16 basketball match between France and Turkey at the EuroBasket 2015 in Lille, northern France, on September 12, 2015. AFP photo

The Turkish national basketball team has been handed a heavy defeat by host France at Eurobasket 2015, bidding farewell to its dreams of a podium finish, or at least an Olympic berth.

Roared on by a record-breaking indoor crowd in Liile on Sept. 12, France thrived on home support as it thumped Turkey 76-53 to reach the quarterfinals.

A pool of talented NBA-based players made the difference, with San Antonio Spurs playmaker Tony Parker pulling the strings for the French. 

Parker had five points and three assists in 25 minutes, while Boris Diaw had four points, three rebounds and five assists in 20. Four others scored in double-figures, including former Spur Nando De Colo with a team-high 15, as France destroyed Turkey by 24 points over the final three quarters.

Ersan İlyasova led Turkey with 14 points and 10 rebounds, however he also led the team in turnovers with five.

Turkey coach Ergin Ataman slammed the organization after the loss.

“Due to the changed system, we had to take a late night plane to Lille after our last group game,” he said after the match. “A 45-minute training session allowed before playing the host team was not fair. Maybe the arena, the fans were perfect, but the organization and our hotel were very bad,” the bitter coach, whose squad selection was heavily criticized, added.

The match saw the attendance record for an indoor game broken with a sell-out crowd of 26,135, according to the organizers. The previous record was held by Red Star Belgrade, which drew 24,232 to Belgrade Arena for a Eurocup quarterfinal against Budivelnik Kyiv.

France will face Latvia on Sept. 15, one step closer to a potential showdown with perennial rival Spain in the semifinals.

The Spaniards, aiming for a fifth successive European podium finish, recovered from a patchy group stage with a resounding 80-66 defeat of Poland on the back of 30 points by Chicago Bulls center Pau Gasol. 

The battling Poles held their own in the first half and early in the third quarter before Spain, champion in 2009 and 2011, pulled away. 

Poland center Marcin Gortat, who plies his trade for the Washington Wizards, praised counterpart Gasol. 

“You can’t win a game if a guy is shooting like that,” he said.

“Poland made it difficult,” Gasol said. “We had 16 turnovers to their nine. In the end, we figured it out.”

Yannis Bourousis buried 14 points in 20 minutes as Greece romped to a 75-54 victory against Belgium with a 21-3 run in the second half. 

Greece is seeking its third Eurobasket title, and first in a decade.

Unfancied Latvia overpowered Slovenia 73-66 thanks to 17 points from playmaker Janis Strelnieks, having also forced its rival to take a flurry of difficult long-range shots.

The tournament’s top two will clinch automatic berths for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the next five will enter three qualifying tournaments for an extra three spots.