Three more wins for either Italy or Spain would result in winning the 2016 U20 FIBA European Championship.
For Italy, those dreams were not a reality.
Federico Mussini and his squad were controlled from start to finish by Turkey, losing 83-72 (it wasn't nearly that close as Turkey was up by 30 at one point). The Italians were bothered by Turkey's size at all five positions on both ends of the floor. Ege Arar and North Carolina State commit Omer Yurtseven combined to score 25 points, while grabbing a total of 17 rebounds.
Italy will shift to the losers bracket, as they play Czech Republic (who they already lost to by 11) Saturday at 7 a.m. ET.
Meanwhile, Yankuba Sima and Spain were victorious against Latvia, 79-70, in their quarterfinal match-up thanks to 26 points from Francisco Alonso. They will play Germany on Saturday in the semifinals at 1:45 p.m. ET. The other semifinal (11:30 a.m. ET) will consist of a match-up between Turkey and Lithuania.
Mussini struggles mightily in loss
Like the majority of Italy's team, Mussini was overmatched from the opening tip. He finished with just six points on 1-of-7 shooting, grabbed two rebounds, dished out an assist, had a steal, and had one turnover.
He had trouble getting his shot off in rhythm (often took off-balance looks instead of setting his feet), had almost no chance of scoring inside over Arar and Yurtseven, and played limited minutes in the final two quarters because the game was already well in the bag.
In fact, Mussini only played 19 total minutes, including contributing just over a minute in the fourth quarter and only four minutes in the third quarter.
Defensively, there were no egregious mistakes on Mussini's part. However, Turkey's guards were simply dumping the ball down low to their big men, who operated with no issues whatsoever.
Sima shuts down Latvia
Sima (five points and five rebounds) was barely noticeable on the offensive end of the floor (besides a monster dunk in the 3rd quarter), but his impact was felt on defense.
Sima blocked two shots at the rim, played sound vertical defense in the post (only one foul), and was solid in pick-and-roll situations. He was especially impressive in the second quarter where he showed his ability to hedge and recover in the pick-and-roll, and forced a quick turnover with his length.
While it doesn't look like Sima has gained any noticeable strength, he was battling more effectively on the interior, using his body to push Latvia's bigs further away from the basket.
Alonso and Marc Garcia were in such a groove offensively that Sima only took six shots (making just two), and had very few post up situations. As mentioned on the first day of the event, Spain's offense revolves around screens and spacing, so Sima's role is more about running the floor and protecting the rim than providing an offensive punch on the low block.