Milwaukee Bucks: Ersan Ilyasova struggles, Turkey eliminated from World Cup

(Photo credit: HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo credit: HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images) /

After their near miss against the U.S., Turkey and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Ersan Ilyasova suffered a shock defeat and World Cup elimination against the Czech Republic.

Those missed free throws in overtime against the U.S. seemed costly for Turkey when Tuesday’s game ultimately ended in a defeat, but not many would have expected them to be just as important as they proved to be following another Turkish loss on Thursday.

Facing a must-win game against the Czech Republic in the group’s first round finale, Turkey looked to be suffering from a hangover from that American near miss, and fell to a shocking loss as a result.

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Led by an outstanding performance from Chicago Bulls’ guard Tomas Satoransky, who orchestrated almost everything his team did across the floor, the Czechs pulled off an upset with a 91-76 win that sees them reach the second round in their first appearance in the World Cup.

Part of the problem for Turkey was that their own star man was unable to exert similar influence on the contest. Milwaukee Bucks veteran Ersan Ilyasova had emerged as one of the truly elite performers in the tournament through Turkey’s first two games, averaging 21 points and 12 rebounds, but he endured notable struggles at the hands of the Czechs.

Undoubtedly having observed Ilyasova’s success against Japan and the U.S., the Czech Republic made him something of a focal point defensively. Facing a double team almost every time he touched the ball, Ilyasova floundered under that intense scrutiny.

Knocking down all six of his shots at the free throw line highlighted just how different things could have been against the U.S. if it had been Ilyasova sent to the stripe. On the other hand, Ilyasova couldn’t find any rhythm from the field as he finished the game having shot 0-of-9 from open play.

Outside of his shooting, Ilyasova chipped in with four rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.

With Ilyasova off his game, the primary resistance from Turkey came from Cedi Osman and Furkan Korkmaz, who scored 24 and 16 points respectively.

Turkey would have had high hopes of challenging for medals just a couple of days ago, but now all that remains is the Classification Round, which will determine their final place. Those games are not insignificant by any means, as the outcomes will determine which teams make the qualifying tournament for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

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With that in mind, Turkey will face Montenegro on Saturday in Dongguan, with the tip-off time currently TBC, with another game coming on Monday against the loser of Thursday’s Greece and New Zealand matchup.