HAMAMATSU (FIBA World Championship
) – Turkey staged a dramatic second-half fightback to stun Australia and win for the second day in a row at the FIBA World Championship.
Ersan Ilyasova, a property of the Milwaukee Bucks who spent last season in the NBDL, erupted for 14 points after the interval and finished with a team-high 17 to lead Turkey to a 76-68 triumph.
On Saturday, Turkey had beaten Lithuania 76-74.
Australia, who upset Brazil on opening day, looked to be in control when they turned an 18-12 deficit early in the second quarter into a 40-26 lead at half-time.
CJ Bruton, the point guard who joined the Boomers late in their preparations, had 15 points off his game-high 22 points in the opening two quarters.
Ilyasova caught fire after the interval, though, making both of this three-pointers and also going to the line to make three free throws after being fouled behind the arc to lead the comeback.
“We don’t quit,” said Ilyasova. “In the first half we played soft, and we were down by 10. In the second half, we won this game because we wanted to win this game more."
Ilyasova, who earlier this summer was the most valuable player of the U20 European Championship in Izmir, Turkey, grinned and added: “Yes, I’ve gotten better. I’ve been playing a lot of basketball this summer.”
“We’re good,” said Ermal Kurtoglu, who had six points, four assists and three rebounds for Turkey.
“We don’t know when we’re beat. A lot of people are talking about our stars who are not playing this summer (Hedo Turkoglu and Mehmet Okur) but we’re showing everybody that we’ve got a good team.”
Turkey cut the lead to 43-38 three-and-a-half minutes into the third quarter on center Fatih Solak’s jump shot at the line but Australia stretched the advantage back to nine after a pair of David Barlow free throws and a Brad Newley lay-up.
A three-pointer from Ilyasova with 31 seconds left in the third period trimmed the deficit to 52-47, but Bruton connected with a three-ball before Ender Arslan finished the scoring with a jumper a couple of feet behind the charity stripe.
Australia kept their noses in front but Turkey kept chipping away. Bruton hit his fifth three-pointer with 5:02 to play for a 63-59 advantage, only for Ibrahim Kutluay to immediately answer with a three for Turkey.
Kutluay, the captain, struck again from the arc for a 65-63 edge, but Bruton went up for a lay-up to tie the game for the final time at 65-65.
Bruton picked up his fifth foul with 2:51 remaining when he reached in against Kutluay and had to leave the game, and Kutluay made both free throws.
After Bogut missed with a desperation jump from the left side with the shot clock about to expire, Ilyasova delivered a hammer blow.
Going up for shot from long range, Jason Smith hit the forward on the arm and also left the contest with his fifth foul.
Ilyasova went to the line and calmly sank all three free throws.
The closest Australia would get would be four points the rest of the way.
“They deserved to win the game,” said Brian Goorjian, the Australia coach.
“They played good half-court basketball, and good defense on us. Good basketball game.
“We have to look forward and move to the next game. I thought Turkey exposed our under belly.
“They got to us physically. Young experienced team, they were better in the last quarter.” By Jeff Taylor