May 17, 2008
ISTANBUL, Turkey _ Reach USA basketball opened pool play 2-0 at the University Sportsfest in Istanbul, Turkey. The Sportsfest is a muli-sport, multinational competition hosted by Bogazici University. Teams from the Middle East, Europe & America are competing in the four day games.
Led by LIpscomb University's Michael Teller, Reach USA won its opening game vs. Middle Eastern Technoligical Institute 44-37. Teller connected on two 3 point field goals en route to his 15 points. Also in double figures for Reach was Lipscomb's Brandon Brown with 13.
Next, Reach USA put away the Istanbul Military Institute 67-40 behind Brown's 13 points anf nine rebounds. Teller chipped in 14 points and six boards.
Reach plays its final pool game against Pakistan Saturday and begins tournament play that afternoon.
In addition to the competing in the games, the team has taken in many of the sights the city has to offer, including the Hagia Sophia, an ancient church built by Constantin and later overtaken by the Ottomans.
"We have seen some incredible things already," Lipscomb Assistant Coach Jay Walton says. "We have met some great people from all over the world. This experience has been great for these guys."
Before leaving Turkey, the team will tour the famous Blue Mosque as well as the ancient ruins at Ephesus.
" We will have a chance to stand in the ruins of the same amphitheatre where Paul stood on his visits to Ephesus," Coach Walton says. "How many people get a chance to do that?"
Reach USA represents Sportsreach, a Christian sports ministry that sends teams all over the world on similar mission trips. Players from several different schools comprise the team, including Lipscomb University, Union College, Sterling College & the University of Texas-Pan American.