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2014 FIBA World Cup: Turkey inflict heartache on the Boomers
Turkey has pulled off a sensational come from behind win to defeat Australia 65-64 in their Round of 16 encounter at the 2014 FIBA World Cup and advance to the quarter finals. Emir Preldzic was the hero for Turkey, netting two late 3-pointers to get them over the line when they trailed by as many as 8 points during the final quarter.
While the Boomers looked strong on both offense and defense throughout most of the match, their inability to put both together at the same time allowed Turkey to continually reign in any lead the Australian's could gain, before ultimately hitting the front in the dying seconds. Aron Baynes led a rounded scoring effort for the Boomers with 15 points and 7 rebounds, supported by Matthew Dellavedova scoring 13 points and 5 assists with Joe Ingles and Cameron Bairstow both scoring 10 points apiece.
Like in previous matches, the Boomers looked to go through Baynes early but he could not add to the scoresheet in the opening minutes. After Dellavedova opened the Boomers account with a 3-pointer, Turkey went on a 7-0 run until Ryan Broekhoff also connected from long-range as both teams continued to feel each other out with Turkey leading 9-6 midway through the quarter.
Delays in the game due to technical issues with the shot clock during the quarter meant both teams had to re-establish themselves in the game. Baynes became involved in the final minutes of the term, finding some touch with his left hook shot followed by a dish in the paint to Bairstow for the lay-up. Bairstow would then return to the favour back to Baynes for the dunk that saw the Boomers with an 18-15 lead after a cautious period by both teams.
After Australia pushed out to a 22-15 lead, Turkey quickly pulled it back to 24-22 behind the further solid play of Turkish guard Sinan Guler who was keeping his team in it with 12 early points. Turkey managed to find their range from 3-point land while Australia were dominating on the boards and with points inside as they took a 35-34 advantage to the locker room at half time.
A 9-2 run in the space of a minute early in the third quarter by the Boomers would see Australia push out to their biggest lead of the match 44-36. This looked to spur the Boomers on further as compounded by a solid Baynes baseline dunk. Turkey Head Coach Ergin Ataman would then be called for a technical foul as Australia's increased intensity began getting under the skin of the Turks at both ends of the floor.
While Australia's defense would remain steady and see them lead by as many as 12 in the quarter, they could not capitalise on offense as the term progressed. Turkey put together a much needed 10-2 run in the final minutes of the quarter as it ended with the Boomers marginally in front 50-46.
The final quarter would start with Broekhoff picking up his 4th foul at a time when the Boomers needed all the offensive firepower they could muster. To add salt to the wound, Ender Arslan would connect for a 3-pointer and have the Turks in the crowd boisterous once again as it quickly became a 1 point game. Back to back baskets from Baynes and an Ingles 3-pointer while the Boomers defense remained strong saw the lead back out to 8 points with 7 minutes remaining.
Another dry patch for the Boomers on offence followed as Guler's 16th point of the match followed by another Erslan 3-pointer saw the match back for the taking at 57-56 to Australia with 4:30 to play. Further points from Bairstow as he entered double figures for the match saw Australia lead by 4 with 2 minutes remaining when David Andersen fouled out of the game.
A huge Dellavedova floating jump shot in the lane off the screen from Baynes had the pressure all on Turkey as they trailed 64-59 with just a minute left in the game. Emir Preldzic for Turkey would have the answer with a quick 3-pointer that Australia would follow up with a shot clock violation with Bairstow's made baseline jumper waved off as being too late, resulting in Turkey with possession down by 2 with 22 seconds remaining.
Preldzic would again be the man for Turkey netting a 3-pointer from the wing for the 65-64 lead and just 5 seconds remaining on the clock. Australia would call a timeout to set up a play to try and earn the win. Ingles would have the chance for victory only to turn the ball over on the way to the basket, allowing Turkey to edge out Australia for the victory.
Preldzic's late baskets would see him lead the Turks in scoring with 16 points along with Guler. Ender Arslan would also score in double figures with 11 points.
With Australia's World Cup campaign now over, speaking after the match Australian Head Coach Andrej Lemanis reflected on the effort of the Boomers during the tournament.
"I am proud of this group of guys. They have played for one another and have hung tough during the tournament. I couldn't be more proud to be associated with this group," he said.
Meanwhile, Turkey Head Coach Ataman was honest in his appraisal of their victory.
"Australia played better than us. It was a miracle to win this kind of game, especially with (Omer) Asik scoring only 4 points," he said.
Turkey will now meet Lithuania in the quarter finals after the Lithuanians overcome New Zealand 76-71 earlier in the day.
Australia lost to Slovenia 80-90 (Group D) Australia defeated Korea 89-55 (Group D) Australia defeated Lithuania 82-75 (Group D) Australia defeated Mexico 70-62 (Group D) Australia lost to Angola (Group D) Australia lost to Turkey (Round of 16)