Turkey opens EuroBasket with humiliating Finland defeat

Turkey opens EuroBasket with humiliating Finland defeat

Turkey opens EuroBasket with humiliating Finland defeat

Hidayet Turkoğlu of Turkey tries a lay-up during the FIBA Eurobasket Group D qualification match Turkey vs Finland in Koper on Sept. 4. AFP photo

The Turkish men’s basketball team has suffered a humiliating 61-55 loss at the hands of Finland on the opening day of the 2013 EuroBasket tournament. Turkey’s self-proclaimed “12 Giant Men” were dismal from start to finish against a Finland side whose best performance in the tournament was a sixth place finish in 1967. 

Bogdan Tanjevic’s men started the game poorly, with their first point coming from a free throw six minutes and 43 seconds into the game. 

Finland led 10-8 in a poor-quality first quarter, but took complete control in the second quarter and finished the first half 32-19. Their momentum continued early in the third period and they took a 19-point lead. 

A late push gave Turkey a chance to tie the game, bringing them back to 58-55, but a two-point attempt by Hidayet “Hedo” Türkoğlu went missing and Finland ended up winning the game. 

Guard Petteri Koponen led the winning team with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Sasu Salin added 12 points. 

Ender Arslan and Kerem Gönlüm tried to fire Turkey coming from the bench, producing a combined 23 points. 

In the other games of the Group D, Italy dominated Russia 79-69 and favorites Greece comfortably defeated Sweden 79-51.

Turkey will play Italy in its second group game.  

Elsewhere, Georgia beat Poland 84-67 and Great Britain defeated Israel 75-71.