Friday, September 18, 2009
Updated: September 19, 8:57 AM ET
Greece wins in OT; Slovenia prevails
KATOWICE, Poland -- Greece hung on for a 76-74 overtime win against Turkey on Friday, and Slovenia overcame a 15-point deficit to beat Croatia 67-65 in the quarterfinals of the European basketball championship semifinals.
Greece will play Spain in the semifinals Saturday and Slovenia will face Serbia, a team it beat by 11 in the opening round. Slovenia is in the semis for the first time.
Turkey, led by Toronto Raptors star Hedo Turkoglu, won its first five games but lost its last two in the closing seconds and can finish no better than fifth.
"It's a shame that we started off so good and didn't close it out as we wanted to," Turkey guard Sinan Guler said.
Turkey's Ender Arslan missed a potential game-winning shot as time expired. Vasileios Spanoulis led Greece with 23 points but made seven turnovers. Turkoglu scored all of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
"I think the key to the game was the excellent defense of our players, and for sure the individual game that Spanoulis showed today," Greece coach Jonas Kazlauskas said.
Arslan helped force overtime when he drove past Antonios Fotsis for a left-handed layup at the end of regulation. Greece went ahead 75-69 with 1:16 to play in overtime when Spanoulis hit his second 3-pointer of the period with the shot clock winding down.
Turkey drew to 75-74 on Ersan Ilyasova's 3-pointer and a basket by Turkoglu before Greece's Nikolaos Zisis sank a free throw to make it 76-74 with 9.8 seconds left. Arslan's 3-point try from the top of the key at the buzzer bounced out.
"It's an incredible feeling to reach the best four in Europe with such a young team," Spanoulis said. "We made mistakes because we were so hungry for the win."
Slovenia was backed by center Erazem Lorbek's 27 points and eight rebounds. Roko-Leni Ukic led Croatia with 21 points and four steals.
Slovenia used a smothering defense in the second half, limiting Croatia to 18 points. Croatia went scoreless for a nearly nine-minute stretch.
Slovenia trailed by 15 in the first half but Lorbek put his team ahead for the first time since the opening minute. His turnaround jumper in the lane made it 51-50 and Slovenia never trailed again.
"In the first half the shots weren't going in, but we stuck to the plan," forward Uros Slokar said. "We played defense; we kept going with defense."
In the later game, Lorbek put Slovenia ahead for the first time since the opening minute with a turnaround jumper that made it 51-50. Slovenia never trailed again.
Roko-Leni Ukic led Croatia with 21 points and four steals.