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Omer Asik can’t save Turkey from surprising Ukraine

New Orleans Pelican Omer Asik had his best game, by far, but he couldn’t prevent upstart Ukraine from continuing its surprising run in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. Turkey (1-2), coming off a solid performance against the USA, fell to Ukraine (2-1) 64-58 on Sept. 2.

Asik rewarded Turkey, which made a point getting the ball to him for the first time all tournament, with 16 points and 20 rebounds (eight on the offensive end) in 32 minutes of action. Asik was 4-of-11 from the field and 8-of-10 from the charity stripe. He is averaging 7.3 points and 9.3 rebounds a game in 21 minutes of action for the tournament.

Both teams struggled from the field, as Ukraine shot 37.5 percent for the game and Turkey made just 36.5 percent of its shots. Ukraine knocked down 10 three-pointers compared to 6 for Turkey but Turkey made seven more free throw attempts (13-to-6).

The difference in the game was that Ukraine, playing without Sergii Gladyr, had a 40-16 advantage in bench production. Olexander Mishula led the way with 19 points off the bench, which is Mishula’s greatest production in International competition. He was 7-of-14 from the field and 5-of-8 from beyond the arc.

“Yes, it is the best I have done in my time with this team for the last two years. But it doesn't matter at all. The important thing here is that the team ended up winning,” the 22-year old Mishula said. “He (Gladyr) is an important player. But we are never a one-man team. Each of us wants to contribute every time we enter the court."

Ihor Zaytsev added 12 points off the bench while starter Pooh Jeter, Ukraine’s leading scorer, contributed 10 points and six assists. NBA free agent Slava Kravtsov chipped in with five points and a team-high seven boards.

Ukraine has a good chance to improve to 3-1 in the competition as tangle with New Zealand on Sept. 3 while Turkey needs a win over Finland (1-2) if they hope to advance to the round of 16.