Oguz Savas was the hero as he led a late rally for Turkey to top New Zealand in Bilbao. In a game Turkey nearly threw away more than once, the Fenerbahce big man took over when it mattered to bring his side back from 12 points down and claim a win on the opening day of the FIBA World Cup. Emmet Ryan reports from the Bizkaia Arena.
After the novelty of the Haka was over and done with, New Zealand and Turkey got to work in a game that was high on pace but low on scores early. To be entirely honest, that was fine as these were two squads happy to bang into each other at will so every rebound brought the opportunity for contact. New Zealand moved into an early lead, with Tai Webster staying clear of the physical stuff to drain a couple of jumpers. Isaac Fotu, who has simply fantastic hair, tried to be clever by faking the outside pass and switching to the one-handed pass inside but in this quarter only straight-up play was delivering. New Zealand however were doing plenty of things right and Ergin Ataman was forced to call a second timeout of the quarter as the Tall Blacks led by 9 late in the first. They were good for that lead through the end of the frame.