Milwaukee Bucks: Ersan Ilyasova sets early spark in Turkey’s final tune-up game

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 03: (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 03: (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

In their final tune-up game ahead of the start of the FIBA World Cup, veteran Milwaukee Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova set the early tone for Turkey to cruise to victory over the Dominican Republic early Tuesday morning.

It appears that current Milwaukee Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova and his native Turkey are ready for the start of the FIBA World Cup, which is set to kick off this Saturday.

After plenty of friendlies, Turkey rounded out their pre-World Cup run, as well as their appearance in the Suzhou International Basketball Challenge, by easily defeating the Dominican Republic in a wire-to-wire 87-59 victory early Tuesday morning.

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The victory, the second of their tournament run, helped Turkey place third in the challenge after they were knocked off by the eventual runners up in Venezuela last time out.

That loss didn’t feature Ilyasova, who was rested by head coach Ufuk Sarica, but the national team veteran was there to help set an early spark for the 12 Giant Men early on against Venezeula.

It took a couple of minutes before the 32-year-old struck as he drained a smooth-looking triple in his first shot attempt of the contest, which was followed by a patented fadeaway mid-ranger near the top of the key as well as by a rare streaking transition slam dunk.

Ilyasova managed to knock down another three to bookend his 10-point first quarter and give Turkey the early advantage over the Dominican Republic with a 21-12 advantage at the end of one.

The rest of the 11-year NBA veteran’s outing wasn’t as immaculate as he missed a pair of threes in the brief run he saw at the end of the first half and he wasn’t able to break the mini-cold spell before he drained his third and final long ball of the day midway through the third quarter.

Finishing out his scoring account, Ilyasova converted a second chance tap-in following his third triple and connected on a technical foul free throw near the latter minutes of the frame. When his performance ended at the 7:47 mark of the fourth quarter, Ilyasova posted 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field (3-for-6 from deep), a pair of assists in over 24 and a half minutes of burn.

After compiling decent results against some tough competition in the run up to the World Cup, Turkey will now ready themselves for the highly anticipated affair. Standing within Group E which features the presumptive favorite, Team USA, Turkey will kick off their run in Shanghai against Japan on Sunday, whose team is headlined by the eighth overall pick of this year’s draft Washington Wizards forward, Rui Hachimura.

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Needless to say, Ilaysova and the rest of the Turkish national team will have to gear up for a heated first group stage, especially with qualification for next year’s Olympic Games on the line as well.