Czech Republic reach Second Round after upset win over Turkey
SHANGHAI (China) - The Czech Republic made history by advancing to the Second Round after an upset 91-76 victory over Turkey on Thursday.
In their first ever FIBA Basketball World Cup, they join the USA to make it out of Group E. The Czech Republic were led by Vojtech Hruban, who had 18 points, and big man Ondrej Balvin, who added 17 points and 11 rebounds.
After a deflating one-point overtime loss against USA just two days ago, Turkey started sluggishly and could not recover against their efficient opponents. NBA players Cedi Osman (24 points) and Furkan Korkmaz (16 points) tried hard for Turkey.
Turning Point: Turkey had the momentum early in the fourth and a three from Melih Mahmutoglu cut the deficit to three. But Hruban responded from deep to fuel an 8-0 run and stretch the Czech Republic's lead back out to double digits.
TCL Player of the Game: Ondrej Balvin was an intimidating presence all game for the Czech Republic and Turkey's frontline were helpless in stopping him. He was a major factor defensively and finished with two blocks.
Stats Don't Lie: Big men Balvin and Patrik Auda monstered Turkey's frontline and dominated the boards with a combined 20 rebounds. Czech Republic had a clear 41-26 overall edge.
Bottom Line: The Czech Republic advance to the Second Round and face the winners from Group F, while Turkey plays for classification.
They Said: "We made history for our country and it's amazing. We are still missing one of our best players, Jan Vesely, so I can only imagine how we would play with him. Today we fought with our heart and in the end we wanted this game more than anybody else. If you know your responsibilities and fulfill them, you can do your best." - Czech Republic center Ondrej Balvin, the TCL player of the game
"Our team played really amazing. They did what I asked and more than I asked. They are lions. We will celebrate this win for a long time, personally and as a country. Against Turkey we won the ball and didn't let them run. It was the player's heart. They commit for their country, for the flag, and they fought." - Czech Republic coach Ronen Ginzburg
"We are really sorry right now. We wanted to win this game and go to the second round but it didn't happen. I congratulate the Czech Republic and I hope they will go further. I believe we are a good team. We competed with the USA. We had to win this game but it didn't happen." - Turkey small forward James Metecan Birsen
"During the game we tried to do lots of things but they pushed hard to play against us with a defensive toughness. We tried to come back and we did but they answered. We are sorry for our fans." - Turkey assistant coach Recep Sen