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Preldzic buries Australia, sends Turkey into Quarter-Finals
BARCELONA (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Emir Preldzic shrugged off an indifferent first half to deliver in the clutch, leading 2010 FIBA World Championship runners-up Turkey to a 65-64 win over Australia in their Round of 16 encounter at Palau Sant Jordi on Sunday.
The win, while setting Turkey up for a Quarter-Final clash against Lithuania on Tuesday, also marked the Turks' third consecutive time reaching the last eight of FIBA’s flagship event.
Having played second fiddle for the better part of the second half and even fallen behind by a dozen points at one stage, Turkey finally found their bearings midway through the fourth quarter.
Preldzic's two free-throws sparked Turkey and the relentless Sinan Guller cut the deficit further down before Ender Arsalan's three-pointer got them within 57-56 with 4:33 left to play.
The Boomers stayed in front and held a 64-59 advantage when Matthew Dellavedova scored with 1:02 left to play.
However, the last minute belonged to Preldzic.
The Fenerbache forward buried a three-pointer with 48 seconds to go that made it 64-62. At the other end Australia committed a shotclock violation.
Preldzic - who else - then sized up the defense and hit a contested three-pointer from the left wing for a 65-64 edge with five seconds remaining.
Australia went to Joe Ingles for the final possession but he lost control of the ball and time ran out.
Preldzic had all 16 points of his points in the second half. Guller also finished with 16.
The teams were evenly matched in the first half, with Australia leading 18-15 at the end of the first quarter and Turkey getting within one, 35-34, at halftime.
It took a 13-2 run at the start of the third quarter for Australia to seize the imitative in the proceedings.
Dellavedova led that all-round Aussie assault with Ingles and Aron Baynes also participating in equal measure after Ryan Broekhoff had initiated the spurt.
Australia did control the flow of the proceedings after that but the fortunes of the game were tilted once Turkey began their revival act.
Baynes had 15 points to lead Australia.