By Can Erozden
ANKARA (AA) – The Turkish National Basketball Team on Friday faced an unexpected loss to the Netherlands by 65-72 in the capital Ankara, making a disappointing start to the FIBA EuroBasket 2021 qualifiers.
Dutch point guard Charlon Kloof, 29, was the top scorer of the match, producing 27 points.
The visitors' shooting guard Yannick Franke had 16 points.
Turkey's top scorer was Fenerbahce Beko shooting guard and team captain Melih Mahmutoglu, who clocked up 20 points.
In addition, Turkish small forward James Metecan Birsen made a "double-double" with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
In their next match, Turkey will visit Sweden on Feb. 24.
The Turkish basketball team are in the same qualifying group as Croatia, Sweden, and the Netherlands to book a spot in EuroBasket 2021.
Meanwhile, Croatia beat Sweden 72-56 in Zagreb to lead Group D.
Following the win against Turkey, the Netherlands are in the number two spot.
Friday's losing sides Turkey (3) and Sweden (4) are behind the Dutch national team.
– EuroBasket 2021 Qualifiers format
A total of 32 nations from eight groups are set to play in the EuroBasket 2021 Qualifiers.
As teams will compete in a round-robin format, each nation will meet all other contestants in home and away games.
The three highest-placed teams from each group, except the groups which have the FIBA EuroBasket 2021 co-host nations, will bag their tickets for the EuroBasket 2021.
The FIBA EuroBasket 2021 will be co-hosted by the Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, and Italy, and these teams will also play in the qualifiers.
For the groups which have host countries, the host nations and the two other highest-placed teams in each group will advance to the next year's EuroBasket tournament.
Regardless of the results, the host teams will qualify for the EuroBasket 2021.
There will be six game days during 2020 and 2021, as the group matches in qualifiers tip off on Feb. 20.
The first two games will be in February 2020, but there will be a break until Nov. 26 when the third game day begins.