|23 August 2008|
Spain wrote a 62-56 victory over Croatia in the first game of the 5-8 classification games at the Termosteps U16 European Championship Men.
Tomorrow, in the closing day of the competition, Spain will fight for the fifth spot against the winner between Russia and Serbia.
Croatia will try to win the seventh spot against the loser of the mentioned match.
Joan Tomas led Spain with 18 points and 11 rebounds and Miguel Servera added 16.
Stefan Zadravec scored 18 for Croatia, Boris Barac added 13 and Toni Katic 11.
"We are playing with only one point guard and when he's resting or under big pressure of the opponent we get in trouble," explained Head Coach of Croatia Damir Rajnovic.
"Like in previous games we had some dead moments on offense and Spain used it to open a gap that we couldn't catch."
Barac led Croatia to a better start behind a 15-8 difference, but Spain finished the first quarter down just by two, 15-13.
Tomas and Servera picked up their pace as Spain made a 9-0 run to take the lead, on the way to a 30-26 difference at half time.
Pedro Farina wrote some big blocks and took part in Spain's run to an 11 point lead, 43-32 late in the third, but Croatia made one more effort.
Zadravec was on fire when Croatia scored eight points in a row, cutting the margin to just two, 46-44, but missed too many rebounds to make the difference.
"We had trouble with Spain's offensive rebound," admitted Rajnovic.
"Every time we came close they got second and third chances which kept us behind."
Albert Ventura and Carles Marzo hit the last ten points for Spain on the way to the six point win.