Highlights: In Turkey-Serbia matchup, Alperen Sengun shines vs. Nikola Jokic

·3 min read

Led by a strong outing from back-to-back NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, Serbia held off Turkey, 79-72 (box score), in Sunday’s European qualifier for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 tournament.

But while the perennial All-Star center of the Denver Nuggets was the headliner, Turkey rallied from an early deficit and made the game very competitive thanks to a similarly elite performance by young center Alperen Sengun of the Houston Rockets.

Sengun tallied 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots in 34 minutes, and he made 8-of-9 shots (88.9%) from the free-throw line. Turkey was +3 as a team in the 34-plus minutes that the 20-year-old played, and -10 in the nearly six minutes that he sat out.

Sengun’s big game still wasn’t enough to win, however, thanks to another brilliant game from Jokic. The massive Serbian big man scored 25 points in 25 minutes on 10-of-16 shooting (62.5%), and he also grabbed 10 rebounds in leading his team to victory.

Scroll on for a look at highlights and key takeaways.

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Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire