Turkey Dominate Czechs To Qualify

11.09.2012

EUROBASKET QUALIFIERS

9. Semih Erden (Turkey)
Center Semih Erden made sure Turkey would not miss out on the EuroBasket party with a 21-point, 11-rebound double-double

Turkey turned on the style for the first time in the EuroBasket Qualification Round on Tuesday and blew out the Czech Republic to claim a spot in next year's Final Round.

Having won just four of their first seven games, Bogdan Tanjevic's team cruised to a 81-58 triumph in Istanbul and took sceond place in Group F.

The margin of victory was so great that Turkey managed to overcome their 18-point setback at the Czechs on 27 August, with Tuesday's result giving Tanjevic and Co an advantage in a head-to-head tie-breaker that allows them to finish as runners-up to Italy.

The heavy defeat has sentenced the Czechs (5-3) to third place in Group F, although the team has still met the main aim of advancing to next year's EuroBasket.

The sense of urgency was there for Turkey on Tuesday.

They had to win to be certain of going through to the Final Round.

Roared on by the home fans, they stormed into a 25-17 lead by the end of the first quarter and stretched that to 44-24 inside the final minute of the first half when veteran forward Kerem Gonlum made a lay-up.

Gonlum had 14 of his 20 points in the opening two quarters and center Semih Erden poured in 11 of his 21 before the break.

The Czechs never threatened to win the game, with the hosts going on top by as many as 29 early in the fourth quarter.

What the Czech Republic did do, however, was mount a late comeback that saw them trail 75-55 with 3:16 to go.

Even with nine seconds to play, Jiri Welsch hit a three-ball to cut the hosts' lead to 79-58.

Gonlum answered immediately, catching a pass from Ender Arslan and dunking on a fast break for an 81-58 lead with just seconds remaining.

Erden had 11 rebounds while Emir Preldzic dished out a team-high six assists.

 


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