In the first Men’s Pool A’s game of the morning, Australia and Turkey treated spectators to an incredible battle.
In a nailbiting opening quarter, Australia quickly built to an eight point lead before the Turkey Men’s Team staged a stunning comeback to close out the 10 minutes by 20-17. In the second quarter it was Australia’s turn to turn around a seven point deficit: the Rollers fighting their way back to edge a 34-33 lead at half time.
A thrilling third quarter then ensued: Turkey taking the 10 minutes by 17-12 to regain the lead by 50-46. The final 10 minutes saw the crowd continue to be treated to a spectacular battle as Australia quickly levelled the game on 52-52 points apiece before Turkey pushed ahead once more by 60-54 with just 2:38 left on the clock. Phenomenal composure from the Australian side saw the team combine strong defence with baskets from Shaun Norris (double double) and Bill Latham to grind out a hard-fought 62-60 victory.
Turkey’s top scorer with 27 points, Ozgur Gurbulak said: “We tried everything: they’re a really strong team and we know that. This is a group game and today we lost, but the tournament continues.”
Australia’s top scorer with 17 points, Tristan Knowles said: “We’ve been in some pretty tricky situations over the last 8-10 years where the core group have been together and we have a firm belief that if we stick to our processes then our processes will get us out of just about any hole. So I guess when we look back and we found ourselves down by six with about three minutes to go it was more about getting a lock down defensively which is just a grinder, and we were able to do that and then fortunately Norris and Latham were able to put the points on the board at the offensive end.”
About tomorrow’s game against Canada, Knowles added: “Canada have been a main rival for the last 15 years and I guess the one thing that’s very much in our minds is the gold medal game in London where they beat us, so we don’t expect there to be any love lost tomorrow: it’s going to be a battle again.”
For full match statistics click here https://www.rio2016.com/en/paralympics/wheelchair-basketball-mens-group-a-preliminary-wb-7