Omer Asik's 22 points lead Turkey to key comeback win

by Jim Eichenhofer

Entering Wednesday's FIBA World Cup schedule with a 1-2 record in pool play, the Turkish national team was in dire need of a victory against Finland. Fortunately for the Turks, center Omer Asik came through with one of the best scoring games of his basketball career.

Asik, whose NBA career high in a single game is 22 points, matched that output with a 22-point performance Wednesday, as Turkey rallied from a big deficit to eventually notch a critical 77-73 overtime victory over Finland. Turkey (2-2) significantly improved its chances to advancing to the knockout stage by coming back from down 17 points against Finland (1-3). Cenk Akyol drained one of the biggest baskets of the tournament so far, a three-pointer from the right corner that capped Turkey's comeback and sent the Group C pool play contest into overtime.

Asik, acquired this summer in a trade by the Pelicans, also grabbed eight rebounds to tie for team honors in that category. Asik was 7-for-12 from the field and 8-for-16 from the foul line. Defensively, he notched two steals and one block.

Turkey can lock up a berth in the Round of 16 – which begins Saturday in Spain – by defeating the Dominican Republic in its Thursday group stage finale. Even if Turkey loses and therefore finishes 2-3 in pool play, it still can advance based on a complicated set of tiebreaking scenarious.

In other Group C action involving the Pelicans:

USA 106, Dominican Republic 71

Pelicans All-Star forward Anthony Davis had his quietest offensive game of the FIBA World Cup so far, notching 10 points after he had tallied 17, 19 and 21 in the previous three games. However, with the Americans rolling to another one-sided victory, Davis did not play at all in the fourth quarter.

Although he didn't dominate this time on offense, making five of his 10 shots from the field, Davis contributed in other areas. The NBA's No. 1 shot-blocker from last season rejected five shots, while also grabbing seven rebounds, including three offensive boards.

With one game remaining in pool play, Team USA (4-0) wrapped up first place in Group C. Every other team in the group has already lost at least twice. The Americans conclude the preliminary stage Thursday with a 10:30 a.m. (Central) game against Ukraine (2-2).