|Two of the protagonists for Crotia, Dragan Bender and Ante Zizic, combined for 34 points and 34 rebounds|
Croatia faced their stiffest examination yet but ground out win number six at the U16 European Championship Men by beating Serbia.
Croatia had recorded four of their five prior wins by double digits, the only exception a 78-69 win over France in which they eased off at the end, but found Serbia much harder to break down.
Although they led this game for more than 38 of the 40 minutes, Serbia made sure the second half was an uncomfortable one for Croatia, twice making it a one-possession game and closing to within four inside the final minute.
But for all their efforts Serbia faced the same problem all of Croatia's other opponents have grappled with so far - an inability to contain their towering front line.
Ante Zizic poured in 20 points while grabbing 18 rebounds, while Dragan Bender and Lovro Mazalin each had 14 points, Bender adding 16 rebounds. Nik Slavica also scored in double figures with 12, and Croatia finished with a 59-40 advantage on the boards.
Croatia took the lead for good with only three and a half minutes gone when Bruno Skokna made a driving lay-up but they struggled to get real separation.
An 8-0 spurt made it 33-24 on Franko Kalpic's jump-shot with 5:31 to go in the second quarter, and it was 40-28 when Zizic completed a three-point play from the line.
But Serbia replied with five points from the hand of Nikola Rakicevic, including a three as a the half-time buzzer sounded, to ensure a slightly more nervous half-time for Croatia.
They continued to chip away at the lead and when Rakicevic hit a jump-shot early in the fourth quarter it was 53-51.
Croatia reeled off five quick points to ease their nerves but Serbia came back again, Vanja Marinkovic throwing down Stefan Peno's alley-oop pass and then making a lay-up to bring the gap back to three with 4:57 left.
Stojanovic's three with 42 seconds left suggested a nervous finish with the score 67-63 but Slavica replied with a lay-up and after Marinkovic missed a late three Croatia saw the game out.
Stojanovic led Serbia with 23 points while Milos Glisic added 13.