Referees: Leonidas Spiridonos (GRE), Branislav Mrdak (SRB), Aare Halliko (EST)
Drama As France Pip Croatia For Semis
France watched Croatia miss four foul shots late and a three-pointer with four seconds left for a 74-73 victory to book their spot in the semi-finals of the U18 European Championship Men.
Nicolas Lang led France with 16 points while Andrew Albicy and Alexis Tanghe each had 13 points with Tanghe adding 10 rebounds as Philippe Ory's team improved to 4-1 in the Qualifying Round Group F.
Toni Prostran poured in 22 points and dished out five assists for Croatia, who dropped to 3-2 in the group but still have an outside chance to reach the semi-finals. Mario Delas added 15 points and Tomislav Zubcic chipped in 14 for Vladimir Vanjak's team.
Croatia opened the game with the first seven points and the lead was 10-5 after Prostran's first three-ball. But Tanghe stepped up his game with nine points in a 17-7 French surge for a 22-17 lead, which was 24-22 for Ory's team after one period.
A Prostran three-ball had the deficit down to 28-25 before Lang drained two long balls to spark a 16-4 run and a 44-29 advantage. And Albicy connected on a long three-pointer at the buzzer for a 47-34 lead at the break.
Albicy's basket early in the second half pushed the margin to 51-34. And the lead was 61-47 after triples by Lang and Tanghe. But Prostran refused to let Croatia go down without a fight, hitting 14 points total in the period, including a triple to cut the deficit to 61-56.
France would build their lead back up to 67-59 after three periods. And it was 70-61 after Jérôme Sanchez's three-ball with 7:28 left. Zubcic, however, spurred on a final Croatia charge with six points and Ivan Ramljak's steal and break-away lay-up gave Croatia the lead 70-69 with 3:51 left. A Zubcic jumper made it 73-72 but Albicy made two foul shots for a 74-73 scoreline with two minutes left.
Vanjak's men missed four free throws and then three shots on a single possession - the last one which saw Prostran decide to take a three-pointer at the top of the circle with four seconds left down just one point. The shot rimmed out and Lang grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 1.5 seconds left. He missed both fouls shots but Croatia could not get off a final shot.