|11 September 2011|
Turning Point: Serbia led 68-67 with four seconds to go and Turkey's Ersan Ilyasova missed a game-winning jumper.
Game Hero: Serbia's Milos Teodosic had 14 of his game-high 20 points in the first half. He pulled down eight rebounds, dished out five assists and came up with one steal.
Stats Don't Lie: Turkey were 16 of 29 (55%) from the free-throw line while Serbia finished 13 of 16 (81%). Serbia out-rebounded Turkey 38-35.
Serbia scraped a 68-67 win over Turkey in a heart-stopping game in the Vilnius Arena on Sunday afternoon to clinch a spot in the Quarter-Finals of the EuroBasket.
The result has ended Turkey's hopes of not only reaching the podium, but also playing at the London Games.
Victory for Serbia has helped them avenge last year's Semi-Final defeat to Turkey in Istanbul at the FIBA World Championship and kept them on course for the Olympics.
"We are very sad," said Turkey coach Orhun Ene.
"We were second at the last World Championship and we had big expectations for this tournament.
"We didn't show our potential throughout the tournament.
"We promised the Turkish people that we would try to qualify for the Olympics for the first time, but we lost too many games.
"This was our last chance and we lost the game in only one possession."
Turkey, after trailing by 14 and missing 13 of 29 (55%) free-throws, managed to claw their way back and pull to within one after a drive into the lane by Ender Arslan with 35 seconds to play.
Serbia's Milos Teodosic was then off target with a three-ball, and Turkey rebounded with 13 seconds to go.
Turkey brought the ball up the floor and Omer Onan drove to the basket but had his shot blocked out of bounds by Dusko Savanovic with four seconds to play.
Ene called timeout to draw up the last play.
When play resumed, Arslan inbounded the ball from the left side of the baseline to Ilyasova and the power forward shot over the Serbia defense but only hit rim.
In the scrap for the rebound, Savanovic grabbed the ball and time expired to give Serbia a one-point triumph.
"This game was very tough," Serbia coach Dusan Ivkovic said.
"Everybody was under pressure.
"The winner is in the Quarter-Final. We played a very good first quarter, we controlled the game in the first half.
"Our concentration fell down in the second half but for sure, we led the game for 40 minutes.
"But unfortunately we allowed with four seconds to go for Turkey to have the last shot.
"We deserved this victory. We were better tonight.'
Turkey will be kicking themselves because the free-throw line proved to be their downfall.
They had also made just 10 of 22 (45%) against Germany on Friday in that 73-67 defeat.
Teodosic had 20 points and eight rebounds but struggled to operate effectively in the lane as he had more turnovers (six) than assists (five).
Savanovic, whose costly miss at the end of overtime cost them victory against France in Group B, had 14 points and Milenko Tepic 12.
Onan had nine of his 11 points in the third quarter to help Turkey come back, with Enes Kanter also causing plenty of problems for Serbia by scoring 11 and corralling five boards.
Ilyasova ended up with 10 points and seven rebounds.
The victory for Serbia has taken some of the pressure off Lithuania and piled even more on Germany ahead of their Group E battle on Sunday.
Germany not only have to upset Lithuania, but win that game by at least 11 points to advance to the Quarter-Finals.