Turkey’s ‘Giants’ to meet Lithuania after Aussie miracle
BARCELONA - The Associated Presse
Turkey players celebrate a the end of the 2014 FIBA World basketball championships round of 16 match Turkey vs Australia at the Palau Sant Jordi arena in Barcelona on Sept. 7. AFP PhotoTurkey will face Lithuania in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup quarterfinals Sept. 9, after a dramatic victory over Australia.
Fenerbahçe Ülker forward Emir Preldzic nailed two late three-pointers, including one that he landed five seconds left in the play, to cap a stunning 65-64 comeback victory over Australia in the round of 16 game on Sept. 7.
Preldzic and Sinan Güler both had 16 points for Turkey.
“Our character in this World Cup is that we never give up. Every time we believe we will make something happen until the last second,” Turkish coach Ergin Ataman said.
The coach was referring to the fact that Turkey stayed in the tournament thanks to another comeback effort against Finland in the group stage. In that game Turkey leveled the game with a buzzer-beater from guard Cenk Akyol to push the game into overtime.
Aron Baynes had 15 points and seven rebounds in the losing effort for Australia, who led for most of the game and was leading by 12 points early in the fourth quarter.
Lithuania had a battle but got past New Zealand 76-71 to move into quarters as Jonas Valanciunas collected 22 points and 13 rebounds while Martynas Pocius scored 11 points and Darjus Lavrinovic chipped in 10 for Lithuania.
“I just play my game, trying to be active and playing for the team. They have a lot of big size and a lot of energy inside,” Valanciunas said.
New Zealand put up a fight but could not finish strong, despite 26 points from Corey Webster.
The World Cup took a day off yesterday and the quarterfinals in Barcelona start tonight, with the United States taking on Slovenia, apart from the Turkey vs. Lithuania game.
The Madrid quarters - Spain vs France and Serbia against Brazil - will be played tomorrow.
On Sept. 7, Brazil finally got over its Argentina complex to reach the quarterfinals.
Brazil had not beaten their South American rivals Argentina at the Worlds since 1967, but ended that drought with an 85-65 win in Madrid.
Raul Neto led the way with 21 points while Marquinhos Vieira had 13 and Marcelinho Heurtas and Tiago Splitter both scored 10 for Brazil, who also lost to Argentina at the 2012 Olympics and endured World Championship defeats in 1998, 2002 and 2010.
“This is historic for our country. So we want to do something special for our country and I think this is about time,” said Leandrinho Barbosa.
Serbia reached the last eight by handing Greece their first loss of the tournament, winning 90-72 thanks to Bogdan Bogdanovic scoring 21 points and Miroslav Raduljica chipping in 16 points and six rebounds.
“It's a very big and very important thing for us and our basketball. During the whole tournament we showed that we have one spirit. I think we deserved to win a game like this," Serbian playmaker Milos Teodosic said.
The Serb win was somewhat of a surprise since they had lost to France, Spain and Brazil in the group stage with only wins over Iran and Egypt.
Greece, who got 14 points and five rebounds from Nick Calathes, picked the worst time for their first loss of the World Cup.