Turkey secures an important win against Lithuania

Hidayet TurkogluTurkey earned the first victory in eight games against Lithuania in the history of European national team competitions as they started Eurobasket 2009 on a high note. The first minutes of the game promised a tight fight and the impression wasn't wrong.

Despite having a bigger crowd of supporters Lithuanian players had hard time guarding Hedo Turkoglu and Ersan Ilyasova. Both Turkish stars managed to find the ways to score through Lithuanian defence.

The gap between the two teams was very low for most of the time with teams exchanging minor leads in the first half. Though Turkish players had no intention of keeping their opponents so close for all game. They three 3-point shots in a row to take a six-point lead in the third quarter. The highest advantage just before the final quarter was 8 points until Simas Jasaitis scored three points to bring his team closer. 63-58 Turkey leads after three quarters.

Lithuanians tried to catch Turkey in the fourth quarter and they were quite close to doing that as the lead melted to just two points. However Turkish players showed that they are not going to let the games lip away from their hands. Both teams exchanged several baskets in the final minutes. And it was Turkey who entered the final minute of the game with a comfortable 10-point lead.

The gap was reduced to four points with 33 seconds on the clock but Eurobasket 2007 bronze medallists were unable to come any closer. Turkey calmly finished the game to win the opening game 84-76.

Turkey now face Bulgaria while Lithuania will try to win their first game against the hosts, Poland.

84 – Turkey (19+20+24+21): Hedo Turkoglu 19, Ersan Ilyasova 17, Ender Arslan 16, Oguz Savas 10, Sinan Guler 6, Omer Asik 5, Bekir Yarangume 4, Engin Atsur 3, Kerem Tunceri 2, Semih Erden 2.

76 – Lithuania (22+17+19+18): Marijonas Petravicius 21, Simas Jasaitis 14, Linas Kleiza 12, Darjus Lavrinovic 9, Tomas Delininkaitis 5, Andrius Mazutis 5, Ksystof Lavrinovic 4, Jonas Maciulis 3, Mindaugas Lukauskis 3.