Courtesy of a fourth quarter take over from naturalized point guard Ali Muhammed, the Turkish national basketball team fended off a gritty Senegalese national basketball team, 62-68, to advance to the semifinal round and effectively eliminating Senegal in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
Born as Bobby Dixson, Muhammed shook off a poor first game in their first game against Canada and scored 15 points in the fourth quarter for ’12 Dev Adam’ to fight off a Senegal team that just won’t give up. Just when everyone thought the game was over as Muhammed hit a dagger three-pointer with 1:57 left in the game to push the lead to nine points at 61-52, a Clevin Hannah three-pointer and a Maurice Ndour layup of a steal in the span of 10 seconds.
Muhammed answered with a layup but Mamadou Ndaye, this time, hit another three-pointer to cut the lead to three points, 63-60, with a 1:03 to go. Muhammed, seemingly in the zone in the fourth period, again extinguished Senegal’s run with a three-pointer of his own. After two Semih Erden misses from the free throw line, Ndour had a chance to cut the lead to one point with two free throws at the 21-second mark. He misses both, however, and Muhammed again capitalized with a layup to seal the game. A Niang layup would convert a layup to settle the finals score.
Muhammed, who scored Turkey’s last 15 points, finished with 23 points, seven rebounds and four assists while Erden chipped in a double-double performance of 14 points and 11 rebounds. For Senegal, Maleye Ndoye led with 15 points and nine rebounds.
The win puts Turkey at second place of Group A and will face the winner of the New Zealand vs France Group B game.
Turkey: Muhammed 23, Erden 14, Mahmutoglu 8, Guler 8, Asik 7, Korkmaz 5, Batuk 3, Savas 0, Geyik 0, Sipahi 0.
Senegal: Ndoye 15, Ndour 14, Mendy 11, Niang 8, Hannah 6, Ndiaye E. 2, Mbodj 2, Gueye 2, Ndiaye H. 2, Ndoye A. 0, Adams 0, Thomas 0.