The Airbnb Australian Emus were knocked out of the Quarter Finals of the FIBA U19 World Championship on Friday, falling to Turkey 71-80.
The reigning European Under-18 champions went on a hot run late in the third quarter to propel themselves to the Semi Finals and dashing the hopes of the Emus.
The Emus had bit the court in determined fashion, taking a 6-0 lead early, and forcing Turkey to adapt. An injury to Tom Wilson, which forced the Victorian off the court in the first quarter and out of the game, undoubtedly played a role in the Emus offensive battle.
Deng Gak, despite foul trouble, continued to chip away at the scoreboard and Angus Glover was strong off the bench.
Turkey took a narrow lead into the second quarter, but at the mid-way point, the Emus had fought back, with Dejan Vasiljevic and William McDowell-White leading the charge for a one-point lead at the break.
“Obviously we are disappointed with the result, but I continue to give our guys credit for how they competed and battled until the end,” said coach Adam Caporn. “That was a very intense game of basketball and credit to Turkey, who showed why they are European Champions. They were able to make some timely shots and build on that momentum with their defensive pressure in the second half of the third quarter.”
The Emus went on the hot run in the third, before Turkey displayed a noticeable lift in intensity. Australia had just gone on an 11-0 run to go up 43-34 when Turkey exploded with a 19-2 run over the final five minutes of the third quarter with Furkan Korkmaz scoring nine points and Okben Ulubay hitting for seven.
Korkmaz was scoreless with 4:42 minutes left in the third quarter. Then he exploded for 15 points in next 9 minutes to blow game open. He also had six rebounds, three assists and two steals.
At the end of the third, Turkey led 55-45 and never looked back.
“We need to learn very quickly from that stretch in the third quarter because tomorrow we play another big game in the green and gold,” said Caporn. “It is the nature of tournament basketball and part of the invaluable experience for these young men that win or lose, there is another game coming quick.”
Box scores from the match can be found here.
The Emus will now play through the classification rounds with Canada their next opponent at 8:45pm AEST Saturday.
“I know our group is looking forward to playing their hearts out for forty minutes tomorrow,” continued Caporn.
“I thought we came out with the right mindset and application and defended them very well in the first half. Deng Gak’s improvement in this tournament has been tremendous and he continued to battle away inside.
“One of our challenges on Saturday will be to make sure we keep our pace and ball movement offensively through changing defenses and physical pressure.”
Watch match highlights here: