The Czech Republic made history by advancing to the second round after a 91-76 upset victory over Turkey on Thursday.
In their first-ever FIBA Basketball World Cup, they join the USA to make it out of Group E. The Czech Republic were led by Vojtech Hruban, who had 18 points, and Ondrej Balvin, who added 17 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.
Both teams began the game having recorded one win and one loss, with the winner guaranteed a ticket to the tournament’s second stage.
“Our team played really amazingly,” said Czech coach Ronen Ginzburg. “They did what I asked and more. They are lions. We will celebrate this win for a long time, personally and as a country. Against Turkey we won the ball and didn’t let them run.”
“During the game, we tried to do lots of things but they pushed hard to play against us with a tough defense,” said Turkey assistant coach Recep Sen. “We tried to come back and we did but they answered. We are sorry for our fans.”
Although Cedi Osman had a game-high 24 points for Turkey, five Czech players managed double-digit points for their victory, with Ondrej Balvin notching 17 points and 11 rebounds.
“We made history for our country and it’s amazing. Today we fought with our heart and in the end, we wanted this game more than anybody else. If you know your responsibilities and fulfill them, you can do your best,” said Balvin.