After winning their opening three EuroBasket qualifiers by an average margin of 27 points, Croatia received a sterner test today against Latvia in Riga.
Nonetheless, Croatia still proved too strong for the home side with a 78-70 win.
As has been their habit in qualifiying games, Croatia struck early and a 9-3 run at the end of the first quarter gave them a 20-14 lead.
Once in front, the Croatians showed little sign of relinquishing the advantage.
The game looked over as early as the third quarter when Marko Popovic drained two three-pointers in a 9-0 run which saw Croatia open up a 19-point lead, 49-30.
But the Latvians stayed focused and by the end of the quarter had cut the lead to single figures, 63-52.
Latvia need a supreme effort to get back in front in the fourth quarter, and they very nearly got it. With the clock showing 1:16 remaining, Latvia closed the gap to just 5 points after Armands Skele knifed his way through the defense for a lay-up.
But the crisis was quickly averted by Croatia and a jump shot from Marko Banic and two free throws from Zoran Planinic saw them home.
Marko Popovic top scored with 21 points for Croatia who need a win over Denmark on Wednesday to secure a spot at EuroBasket 2007.
Latvia are still in the hunt as the best second-placed qualifier and face Estonia on Wednesday.