Ruthless Croatia Make Intentions Known

10 August 2012

U18 MEN

Dario Saric (Croatia)
Showtime - Dario Saric (pictured) and Mislav Brzoja combined for 53 points and Croatia reached 105 to make the Second Round in style

By Jared Grellet

Croatia have thrown out an early warning to their opponents, thumping Slovenia 105-80 to bring a close to day two action at the Samsung U18 European Championship.

Defence was kept to a minimum in Liepaja as the Croats provided a highlights reel of free-flowing offensive-minded basketball against their neighbours.

Shooting at a more than respectable 63 percent from the floor in the opening half, Slovenia still found themselves trailing by 10 points at the half.

They had failed to find a way to shut down Dario Saric and Mislav Brzoja, who combined for 38 of their team's 55 first-half points.

Saric went on to finish the game with 27 points whilst Brzoja helped out with 26.

The duo stepped aside to a certain extent in the third quarter with Tomislav Gabric, Karlo Lebo and Jakov Mustapic stepping out of the shadows to provide seven points apiece and hammer the final nail into Slovenia's coffin.

With a quarter to go and holding onto an unassailable 29-point lead, Croatia dropped the tempo in the final frame, but still managed to cross into triple figures with over two minutes to play.

Providing the main support for Saric and Brzoja was Mustapic, with 13 points.

Matic Rebec lead Slovenian scoring with 15 points.

Slovenia's campaign is now teetering on the edge with the green and whites needing to defeat Poland on Saturday to move onto the Second Round.

Croatia will come up against what may prove to be their first tough test when they take on Russia.


 


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