20 November, 2017
26 February, 2019
10 Melih Mahmutoglu (TUR)
Game Report
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Mahmutoglu's third-quarter explosion propels Turkey past Latvia

BURSA (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers) - Inspired by the long-range shooting of Melih Mahmutoglu, Turkey sailed to an 85-73 win over Latvia in a Group B fixture of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers in Bursa on Friday.

Turning Point: A strong start had Latvia in front for the majority of the first half, but thing started to unravel for the visitors towards the end of the second period. On the other end, it all came together for Turkey in the quarter, as the 12 Giant Men increased the gap to double figures at 60-49 after a 12-5 run by coach Ufuk Sarica's side.

Game Hero: It was bombs away for Melih Mahmutoglu all night long, with the Fenerbahce guard paving the path to victory for the 12 Giant Men with 24 points on 6-of-10 shooting from three-point range and 3 steals. He really made a mark with the third-quarter explosion, which featured four triples and 16 points.

Stats Don't Lie: Excellent play on the defensive and good care of the ball provided the tools for Turkey to erase their first-half deficit, completely shutting down Latvia's usually-strong transition offense. The hosts finished the game with 12 steals and outscored their opponents 10-3 in the fast break category.

Bottom Line: After suffering their first ever defeat to Latvia (89-79) in the FIBA EuroBasket 2017 a couple of months ago, Turkey got their all-time head-to-head record back on track and improved to 4-1 with a win in Bursa.

They Said: "The Turkish team scored 18 points from our turnovers and and that changed the game. We tried to come back, but it's not easy here in Turkey against such a good team." - Latvian national team head coach Arnis Vecvagars.

"We had the chance to experience playing in Bursa after a long time. The national team hasn't played a game here in a while. We are glad that we won, but sad about the injury of Semih Erden. As of now, it looks like he'll miss the next game in Kiev." - Turkish national team head coach Ufuk Sarica.